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Blogs: Cryogenic Chip 

Enabling Cryogenic Chip Design and the Scaling of Quantum Computers 

Multiple technologies have been demonstrated for generating and controlling qubits which are in the hearth of every quantum computer  (QC). However, QCs have only been realised with a few dozen qubits, whereas to unlock their potential, they need to be scaled to thousands or even millions of qubits.

A QC needs control electronics to manipulate and read out from the qubit array, and to store and process the resulting data. Current implementations typically involve a qubit array chip located in a cryostat, with multiple coaxial cables running to banks of highDprecision roomDtemperature control electronics. This represents a major barrier to scaling because it's impractical to run thousands of cables into cryostats, and the long cables introduce delays in signal transmission. 


In principle, this integration problem can be solved using conventional silicon CMOS fabrication technology bringing the controlling and data processing CMOS chips closer to the qubits in the cryostats. However, existing integrated circuit design methodologies are only validated at temperatures close to room temperature (typically in the range -40oC to +125C), whereas qubit arrays operate at significantly lower temperatures. At such low temperatures commercial process design kits  (PDKs) enabling the chip design and verification are not available which currently renders the cryogenic chip design practically impossible.  Simultaneously semiconductors exhibit significantly different electronic characteristics at cryogenic temperatures, and the conventional CMOS IP and chip design solutions may not work as intended. 


With decades of experience in lowDpower electronics design and simulation, Semiwise is now creating the necessary IP, knowDhow and methodology providing the muchDneeded cryogenic PDKs and enabling the design CMOS circuits optimised for QC applications and operating at cryogenic temperatures but manufactured using conventional foundries. Based on this technology the company will be offering services to recenter the standard foundry process design kits  (PDKs) for  allowing proper analogue and digital design at cryogenic temperatures. This will minimize the excess heat generated thereby easing the scalability challenges for large quantum computers. 


“We are excited to become part of the QC revolution by providing for our customers with the much needed cryogenic PDKs and enabling cryogenic chip design and IP generation, enabling the QC scaling” commented the CEO of Semiwise, Professor Asenov.   


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