The advanced nature of established silicon fabrication capabilities and supply chains offers a unique opportunity to develop novel quantum technologies. Silicon is a promising material for quantum components, and silicon-based transistors can be used as quantum devices or as custom cryogenic logic modules for dedicated control circuitry in quantum computers.
When silicon devices are used as quantum devices, such as spin qubits, they require different control and optimization techniques than classical bits. This is because quantum devices are sensitive to environmental noise and require operation in a deep cryogenic environment. Specialised device readout techniques, such as charge sensors and reflectometry, are also needed to measure the state of quantum devices.
Characterising the building blocks of cryogenic logic and control circuits is another critical area. Although this is closer to traditional methods, cryogenic conditions, power dissipation limits, and demanding performance requirements make this a non-trivial task.
The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is working on projects that use commercial silicon fabrication platforms to develop quantum devices and cryogenic control electronics. These projects are part of the "stack" of technologies that are needed for scalable quantum information processing.
How NPL can help
To assist the integration of these technologies NPL are developing tests customised to cryogenic silicon challenges.
NPL’s scientists have extensive experience in quantum electrical metrology. They operate sophisticated cryogenic facilities with extensive low noise electrical measurement and radio frequency (RF) techniques. As the UK’s National Measurement Laboratory they also have access to state-of-the-art calibration systems. They regularly collaborate with laboratories around the world including NTT, NIST, PTB, KRISS, UNSW.
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