Australian semiconductor company Archer Materials (ASX:AX) is developing a quantum chip that it describes as unparalleled.
The company says its technology has the potential to bridge the gap between quantum machines that require a large infrastructure to operate and quantum chips in mobile devices, such as cell phones.
Quantum computing is a new method of computing that differs from current technologies that rely on silicon-based transistors and memory chips including CPUs, GPUs, and Flash/DRAM.
Globally, CSIRO predicts that quantum computing and related technologies will create an industry worth $86 billion annually and generate an additional 10,000 new jobs in Australia by 2040.
The path to widespread adoption of quantum computing technology and its applications depends largely on hardware development for quantum processor chips.
Archer recently made a major technical breakthrough developing what it calls 12CQ (one-two-see-que) chip technology, which it says could pave the way for quantum-powered mobile devices.
The company recently revealed that it detected quantum information on the chip, at room temperature, while using mobile-compatible technology.
Archer did this using a “single-chip integrated electronic resonance detector based on High Electron Transfer Transistor (HEMT) technology”. HEMT is widely used in integrated circuits such as those found in mobile phones.
The company believes this is an important step, as many quantum computing machines currently use quantum chips that operate at low temperatures or are difficult to integrate into modern electronics, limiting ownership and use of practical quantum devices.
“The development of the Archer 12CQ chip is unique in that we have the ability to enable quantum-powered mobile devices; Archer CEO Dr. Mohamed Choucair said:
“HEMT technology is well-established and widely used in the semiconductor industry, so its use in developing qubit controllers is in line with the company’s strategy to make the 12CQ chip compatible with modern electronics,” he added.
Archer is the only ASX-listed company and one of the few players in the world to develop qubit processor chip technology in the semiconductor industry. A qubit, or quantum bit, is the basic unit of quantum information.
The company holds patents to protect technology in the United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Europe.
Currently, Archer is developing its quantum chips at several world-class semiconductor facilities in Australia and Switzerland. Archer was the first Australian company to build a qubit processor to join the global invite-only IBM Quantum Network.
Archer asserts that it has been well-funded to advance the development of its groundbreaking 12CQ technology with $29 million in cash and zero corporate debt.
Lab-on-a-chip . technology
In addition to pioneering quantum chip technology, Archer is still in the early stages of developing biochip technology to enable the complex detection of some of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases.
The company announced last month that it had successfully combined a single-atom-thick sheet of graphene with silicon electronics.
“Before this latest work, Archer has achieved the integration of graphene into silicon electronics. Archer has now succeeded in performing complex lithographic processes after merging and device manipulation of atom-thick materials that preserve the advanced electronic properties of graphene,” said Dr. Choucair.
He added, “Electronic transport measurements by Archer’s team are the primary link regarding the use of graphene in transistor technology intended for future biosensors in Archer’s biochip devices.”
Archer prepares for growth in 2022
A key focus area for Archer’s expansion includes the company’s domestic and international capabilities in the design, manufacture and advanced prototypes of semiconductors.
This includes both access to infrastructure and utilities, as well as the hiring of industrial talent.
Archer recently said he has received more than 650 applications for a range of highly specialized STEM roles to help advance its technologies.
Some of Archer’s talents include award-winning and pioneering technologists who were the first to make graphene and those who built a single-atom transistor—virtually reaching the end of Moore’s Law and ushering in the beginnings of the quantum age.