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Quantum technology boosted by extra support for QuTech

01 Jun 2015

The Dutch government, Delft University of Technology, TNO, NWO and the TKI HTSM today signed a declaration of intent to financially support the QuTech partnership between TU Delft and TNO for the next ten years. This long-term commitment could see the research and development budget for QuTech expand to 135 million euros over the coming years.

Ecosystem

QuTech, proclaimed as one of the four national icons in 2014, is working in Delft on specially developed chips that allow quantumbits to exist in both 0 and 1, something that will give computers exponentially more calculating power. This offers both science and industry wonderful opportunities for new applications. The QuTech research centre, founded in 2013 by TU Delft and TNO with support from NWO, FOM, STW, the Dutch ministries of Economic Affairs and the TKI HTSM, works with other universities and companies like Microsoft. This initiative aims to develop into an ecosystem over the next few years with various other companies and institutes to radically change supercomputers as we know them during the coming decade.

Helping to tackle societal challenges

“The signing of this agreement is a signal that the Netherlands is geared to using and expanding our highest quality knowledge to develop a revolutionary computer and network technology that can help seize societal and economic opportunities and tackle the challenges in areas like ICT, material science research and medicine,” said TNO CEO Paul de Krom at the signing. “This commitment enables us more than ever before to attract top scientists and industrial partners. This gives QuTech an enormous boost to realise its ambition: for the Netherlands to play a major role in quantum technology within ten years. The scientific position of TU Delft and the technology position of TNO has often proved an excellent combination in the past.”

Applications

The calculating power of the quantum computer that QuTech is aiming for will make it possible, for the first time, to efficiently search through ‘big data’, to calculate the many different ways that proteins can fold (important, for example, for her development of medicines), to design materials that can conduct electricity without resistance (central to the transport of energy) or to simply crack different encryption methods. As TNO’s project manager Rogier Verberk says, “In this way the incredible power of a quantum computer can have considerable impact on virtually every major societal challenge that we face.”

TNO and TU Delft in the world’s elite

In QuTech TNO brings in its top knowledge and experience of RF technology, optomechatronics, nano-technology, material science, contamination control, systems engineering, scaling research to applications and project management. The pioneering scientific work of TU Delft can thus be translated and accelerated into pilots and efficient control and reading of the qubits. TNO knowledge of material science allows simulations to be performed that provide insight into the correlation between the material properties, the effects on surfaces and quantum mechanical parameters. This is particularly valuable for the Majoranas in nanowires. TNO knowledge of optics means that pilots for secure quantum internet can be improved in terms of efficiency and ultimately be converted to wavelengths and a fibre technology familiar from telecommunication and thus enable production using cheap, robust components. In terms of nano-manufacture and contamination control, TNO’s knowledge will enable the more stable production of qubits than in the first generations as well as gradual scaling up to larger quantities of qubits on a single chip.

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