TU Delft and Intel drink a toast to the qubit

The new building blocks of the quantum computer of the future are being produced in a present-day chip factory. Researchers from QuTech — a TU Delft and TNO collaboration — and Intel showed that this is possible. They achieved this major technological feat through close collaboration and extensive knowledge sharing, and cracked open the champagne in an online toast to this milestone.

At first glance, the Intel buildings near the American city of Portland seem pretty bland, looking like enormous grey shoe boxes that serve as distribution centres for packages or foodstuffs. Not a place where you'd expect to find groundbreaking technological research taking place. Yet that's precisely what's going on within these grey walls. Here Intel not only makes the chips that make your smartphone and laptop work, they are also developing the building blocks of the quantum computer: the computer of the future. And they're doing it together with QuTech.

The Dutch and American researchers have had a joint mission in recent years — to print qubits on silicon using current technology. These qubits are the building blocks of the quantum computer, which in the future will enable us to do calculations at a much faster rate. “At present, researchers are mainly working with qubits in laboratories. To make the quantum computer possible, you need to produce these qubits in an accessible way. By working with Intel we wanted to show that we can use current chip production methods to print qubits too. This brings the advent of the quantum computer an important step closer, as you can work with existing facilities,” says QuTech's Anne-Marie Zwerver, who started work on this together with her colleague Tobias Krähenmann.