ColdQuanta Atom Tech for Million Qubit Quantum Computers and Beyond

ColdQuanta cools atoms to a few millionths of a degree above absolute zero and uses lasers to arrange the atoms, hold them in place, run computations on them, and read out the results. Quantum calculations, communications, and sensing are the result. Satyendra Bose and Albert Einstein discovered the fifth form of matter—the Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC). Dr. Eric Cornell and Dr. Carl Wieman won a Nobel Prize for creating the first BEC in a collaboration between CU Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Their colleague, Dr. Dana Z. Anderson, co-founded ColdQuanta, which uses the fifth form of matter as the foundation for its Cold Atom Quantum Technology.

Nextbigfuture interviewed Paul Lipman, President of Quantum Information Platforms at ColdQuanta.

ColdQuanta’s cold atom method is a foundational platform for multiple gigantic application areas that leverage atom control technology.

* They plan to scale to 1000 qubit systems by 2024 and then to millions of qubits.
* They can use the cooled atoms to make far more sensitive RF receivers and sensors.
* ColdQuanta can create atomic clocks that are far more precise. ColdQuanta atomic clocks will be thousands of times more precise which enables better global positioning. The global positioning system is based on atomic clocks placed in orbit. The High-BIAS2 (High Bandwidth Inertial Atom Source) project enables vehicle navigation without a GPS (Global Positioning System) or GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) signal. Reducing the reliance on GPS and GNSS technologies is critical for scenarios where signals from these systems are not available, such as underwater or in space, or when they suffer disruptions due to technical issues, cyberattacks, and atmospheric or reflection effects. High-BIAS2 demonstrates the rapid commercialization of quantum technologies for real-world applications.

Google also uses atomic clocks in data centers for faster and more scalable databases. In 2017, Google brought the global NewSQL database system ‘Spanner,’ responsible for keeping more than 2,000 of its services running, to Google Cloud Platform. Google’s distributed SQL database called Spanner, relies on something called True Time for very strong consistency of transactions across nodes. Google knows that time is uncertain, so True Time defines a bounded and small uncertainty of time window where transactions can not be ordered definitely. True Time works as a Global Time across Google datacenters. True Time uses atomic clocks to for its timing and coordination.

The ColdQuanta system can scale to more qubits and higher connections between qubits than other competitors. The ColdQuanta systems are better able to incorporate the new theoretical error correction methods.

Quantum Computers will need to be error corrected to release their full power to scale beyond a few hundred or a thousand qubits.

ColdQuanta has a platform for atom technologies beyond the powerful potential of large-scale error-corrected quantum computers.

They already use the laser cooling to enable labs to easily generate and work with Bose Einstein condensates. Previously, Bose Einstein condensates were very difficult to create and few had been made. The glass cells and the system ColdQuanta have make Bose Einstein Condensate work far easier.

ColdQuanta creates ultra-high vacuum cells that are injected with atoms. [The glass cell is shown above]. ColdQuanta’s high-quality glass cells offer a new level of optical access to in-vacuum experiments. Assembled with an optical contacting process, the cells provide high-quality AR coatings while maintaining very high optical flatness in the cell walls, enabling minimal optical distortion through the cell. The cells are connected to the flange through an anodic bond to a silicon transfer, and have no epoxy or frits, giving them excellent UHV compatibility.

Using laser cooling, ColdQuanta cools the atoms to near absolute zero. The system is kept at room temperature while only the atoms remain ultracold, allowing devices to be deployed in rugged environments.

Lasers are also used to hold atoms in place and control their quantum states. There is a grid of lasers where atoms are held in place.

The image is the actual grid of held atoms. The atoms are 3 microns apart. They have held over 1200 atoms in place.

They hold atoms for calculations and extra atoms are held. They use laser tweezers to move the spare atoms to replace lost atoms.

The key difference among the various end applications of ColdQuanta’s technology is primarily the arrangement of the atoms.

ColdQuanta 2021 Achievements

Over 140% bookings growth from both new and recurring customers and use cases.
Over 70% growth in headcount, bolstering the leadership team with key executives from Luminar, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Webroot and related industries.

Won contract with DARPA for Quantum Apertures Program
Secured $3.6 million DARPA contract for the Science of Atomic Vapors for New Technologies (SAVaNT) project.
Announced new milestones for more precise inflight navigation systems as part of the High-BIAS2 (High Bandwidth Inertial Atom Source) project.
Announced key partnerships with IBM, Strangeworks and Classiq.

Achieved technical milestones and honors:
Achieved quantum computer milestone by trapping and addressing 100 qubits in a large, dense 2-D cold atom array.
World’s first demonstration of multi-qubit quantum algorithms on a neutral atom quantum computer.

ColdQuanta Founder and CTO Dana Anderson awarded 2021 Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics
Albert quantum signal processing system, which enables the design and prototyping of quantum products, awarded 2022 SPIE and Photonics Media Prism Award

SOURCE- ColdQuanta, Interview with Paul Lipman, President of Quantum Information Platforms at ColdQuanta.
Written by Brian Wang,

8 thoughts on “ColdQuanta Atom Tech for Million Qubit Quantum Computers and Beyond”

  1. I would more strongly assert that the ability to do the experiment is the goal of Science. When we switch on a light, we are testing (experimenting with) the whole system supplying energy, etc. The fact that we are bored with the result does not matter! One then can ask more questions about what is happening, or make other explanations, but if the lights do not work, nothing is happening.

  2. This is a great post, Brian! I am always amazed at the men and women who can understand particle physics and atomic and subatomic interactions.

    Short throw lasers are not very old (heck, the first manufactured lasers are about my age), and already scientists are designing useful tools to do incredible things. The Youtube videos are welldone.

    A few questions for Brian, Brett, and (GoatGuy if he is still around): Where does the heat (energy) removed from the atoms go? Is there an inherent heat pump / exchange mechanism? Also, how much energy is used to generate the required laser output? Could common office outlets power this thing? Are the antennas passive or active?

    And how much does one cost?

    10 years ago, I couldn't imagine in my wildest dreams it possible to manufacture an affordable, tabletop device that used lasers to cool atoms down to near absolute zero while all of the surroundings were at room temperature.

    Or that small, precise vacuums could be produced and reproduced with all the microchip electronics tuned to specific atoms along with sensors and antennas that were this easy to set up.


  3. I am glad for the theorists, because they guide the practical scientists and researchers. After that, I am grateful for the engineers who design and manufacture useful tools and products using what the theorists conjectured, and what the researchers proved. All three groups are pretty awesome!

  4. Bose, and Einstein hypothesized a fifth state of matter, and the world is better for it. Several relatively unknown teams of REAL physicists did the grinding work of discovering it, they are the unsung heroes. I say real physicists because it is repeatedly reproducible experimentation that is the heart of science in general, and physics in particular.

    Think not? If no one ever experimentally proves a hypothesis, or in this case creates a "Bose, Einstein condensate" is anything discovered, or is it just speculation, and pretty mathematics? I say no, as in proponents of string theory have discovered nothing, and are not likely to. After all, we're talking science, not mathematics.


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