What Developers Need to Know about our Atomic Array Quantum Computing Technology

Justin Ging, Chief Product Officer

If you are a developer working in the quantum computing space, you are familiar with or have run a circuit on a superconducting or trapped ion quantum computer. 

These two technologies were the early pioneers of the quantum hardware landscape and small versions of each have been available commercially for years.  A major challenge with these approaches is how to scale them to thousands or millions of qubits with error correction.

More recently, an alternative quantum computing technology with the potential to scale much quicker and easier has emerged - systems based on atomic arrays of neutral atoms.   These systems have inherent advantages, which have led to multiple teams developing them.  

But just as there is more than one way to cook an egg, there are different approaches to building quantum computers from atomic arrays.

At Atom Computing, we are pioneering an approach to deliver highly scalable gate-based quantum computing systems with large numbers of qubits, long coherence times, and high fidelities. 

Here are some key advantages of our atomic array quantum computing technology:

  1. Long coherence times.  Most quantum hardware companies measure coherence in units of milliseconds.  We measure it in seconds. The Atom team recently set a record for the longest coherence time in a quantum computer with Phoenix, our first-generation 100-qubit system. Phoenix demonstrated qubit coherence times of 21 seconds.  The longer qubits maintain their quantum state, the better.  Developers can run deeper circuits for more complex calculations and there is more time to detect and correct errors during computation.  How do we create such long-lived qubits? Weuse alkaline earth atoms for our qubits. These atoms do not have an electrical charge, thus they are “neutral.”  Each atom is identical, which helps with quality control, and are highly immune to environmental noise.
  2. Flexible, gate-based architecture.  Atom Computing is focused on developing a flexible and agile platform for quantum computing by supporting a universal quantum gate-set that can be programmed using standard industry quantum development platforms.  This gate-based approach allows developers to create a wide range of quantum algorithms for many use cases.  Our qubit connectivity uses Rydberg interactions where the atoms are excited to a highly energized level using laser pulses causing their electrons to orbit the nucleus at a greater distance than their ground state to interact with nearby atoms.
  3. Designed to scale.  Neutral atoms can be tightly packed into a computational array of qubits, making the quantum processor core just fractions of a cubic millimeter.  Lasers hold the atomic qubits in position in this tight array and manipulate their quantum states wirelessly with pulses of light to perform computations. This arrangement of individually trapped atoms, spaced only microns apart, allows for massive scalability, as it is possible to expand the qubit array size without substantially changing the overall footprint of the system.  For example, at a 4-micron pitch between each atom and arranged in a 3D array, a million qubits could fit in less than 1/10th of a cubic millimeter volume.

Developers looking for gate-based quantum computers with large numbers of qubits with long coherence times, should be looking to partner with Atom Computing.  We are working with private beta partners to facilitate their research on our platforms. Have questions about partnering? Contact us.

Atom Computing to invest $100 mln in Colorado for quantum computer center

By Jane Lanhee Lee

An Atom Computing's Phoenix quantum computer is seen in Berkeley, California
Colorado Governor Jared Polis attended the opening ceremony of Atom Computing's new facility in Boulder, Colorado

[1/2] An Atom Computing's Phoenix quantum computer is seen in Berkeley, California, July 21, 2022. REUTERS/Jane Lanhee Lee12

Sept 28 (Reuters) - Atom Computing, a Berkeley, California-based quantum computer maker, said on Wednesday it would invest $100 million over the next three years in Colorado where it plans to build its next generation of quantum computers.

It is the latest quantum computing startup to build out its base in Boulder, Colorado. The state started to boost its involvement in quantum computing about two years ago, said Colorado's governor, Jared Polis, who attended Wednesday's Atom Computing event in Boulder.

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"We want to be the leader of quantum computing as this industry creates hundreds of companies, tens of thousands of jobs, and powers a new technology revolution," Polis told Reuters.

Quantum computers, which use quantum mechanics, will eventually be able to operate millions of times faster than today's advanced supercomputers. The technology is still in its early stages.

The University of Colorado Boulder has been a center for quantum physics-related research, and is home to JILA, formerly known as the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, a joint institute of the university and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Atom Computing uses lasers to control individual atoms and build qubits, the basic unit of quantum information. The company has raised a total of $80 million so far, it said.


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