The C12 start-up is relying on CEA to pre-industrialize its quantum processor based on carbon nanotubes

In the quantum computing landscape, French start-up C12 Quantum Electronics is a curiosity. Faced with competing technologies (superconductors, cold atoms, trapped ions, photons, silicon, etc.), Pierre and Matthieu Desjardins, the co-founding twin brothers, decided to go it alone and make their quantum bits (qubits). from electrons trapped by carbon nanotubes, which are then incorporated into 200 mm silicon wafers using the so -called “complementary metal oxide semiconductor” (CMOS) process, known in the semiconductor industry.

Alone, not in total, because the two Ecole Polytechnique graduates have just signed a partnership with CEA, announced on March 23, to make these quantum chips on a larger scale with the goal of future industrialization. . “The C12 has demonstrated in the lab a quantum computing technology that looks promising, said Thomas Signamarcheix, vice-president responsible for strategic development at CEA-Leti, who was interviewed by Industrie & Technologies. Its founders have now asked the CEA to expand. »

Promising technology “kasi “incredible” at “Industrializable »

by “ promising technology », Thomas Signamarcheix heard “incredibly related to quantum physics “and most of all, “industrializable, because it is partly based on widely proven semiconductor processes”. And where CEA-Leti, one of the specialists, will provide ” approximately fifty pre-production equipment to micro-electronics industry standards, installed in our clean room, in Grenoble “, He added.

Concrete, carbon nanotubes will be mechanically synthesized by C12 in semiconductor chips made by CEA-Leti. In addition, it is also for C12 to instruct the CEA to respond to the target problems faced by the start-up ” to calibrate, control and read qubits ”, Hint a statement.

A prototype expected for 2024

yun ” bilateral cooperation », As Thomas Signamarcheix calls it, will also be allowed “to promote the integration of innovative materials to optimize the properties of qubits hosted on carbon nanotubes, and to include ongoing work on the design and manufacture of multi-qubit chips “, completion of the press release. The final prototype is expected for 2024.

This partnership is an important step for our companyenthuses Pierre Desjardins, CEO of C12, in the press release. We are moving from an academic manufacturing process to an industrial level manufacturing process, which is a big challenge. Thanks to CEA, we will benefit from chips that are of better quality and produced in larger volumes. We are now preparing for the industrialization of our chips. »

“CEA involved in technology transfer”

An industrialization where, ” at present, all scenarios are possible “, Assured the vice president of CEA-Leti. ” Eventually, the start-up will be able to make its own technology or transfer it to another production unit. What is certain is that CEA is involved in technology transfer. »

Froma project carried out at the Physics Laboratory of ENS Paris (LPEN), the technology developed by the Matthieu Desjardins teams has already allowed C12 Quantum Electronics to raise $ 10 million in seed funding in June 2021. CEA is also thriving, internally, qubit silicon technology relying, in this instance, on the semiconductor industry.

For C12 technology as for CEA, we have the same doubts about scaling as for the superconducting sector, which is currently dominant.end of Thomas Signamarcheix. We know the industry is mature and we can quickly move to many qubits. On the other hand, we less advanced in demonstrating physical mechanisms. Now is the time to catch up.

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