This will enable the design of Cryo-CMOS control chips that can be co-located with the qubits in the cryostat and will solve the current problem of extensive and performance limiting cabling used to connect the qubits with their associated control electronics usually running at room temperatures outside the cryostat.
In order for Quantum Computers to realise their potential, thousands, if not millions of qubits will be needed, and they have to be kept at cryogenic temperatures to ensure that they operate correctly. Currently, the major barrier to scaling is the amount of control cabling, which is in direct proportion to the number of qubits within the system. This problem can only be solved by moving the control electronics into the cryostat.
However, there are a number of challenges as Paul Wells, sureCore’s CEO, explains. “There are two key challenges to developing Cryo-CMOS. Currently, the standard industrial operating temperature range for most commercial CMOS process technologies is from -40°C to 125°C and this is reflected in the transistor SPICE models supplied by silicon foundries. By working closely with both industry partners and foundries, we plan to design and characterise silicon IP capable of operation down to 4°K.
“The second challenge is to ensure that the control electronics dissipates as little heat as possible so as to minimise the cooling load on the cryostat. Hence it is critical that, as far as is possible, low power design techniques are deployed. sureCore are experts in reducing the power consumption of CMOS; our design methodologies have already demonstrated up to 50% dynamic power reduction in embedded memory IP. By deploying these techniques in the design of Cryo-CMOS, we aim to minimise the excess heat generated thereby easing the scalability challenges for large Quantum Computers.”
sureCore already has silicon-proven, ultra-low power, embedded memory IP that it will look to customise for this Cryo application and it will be launched as its CryoMem range.
Using the knowledge gained from the development of CryoMem, sureCore then plans to create a range of IP tailored for the development of complete QC control electronics in Cryo-CMOS and will offer a complete portfolio of Cryo-IP for licensing by companies wishing to develop Cryogenic control ICs.
Wells adds “This new IP library will help unlock the potential of QC by accelerating the development of cost effective, cryogenic control ASICs for the hundreds of QC companies out there competing to deliver competitive Quantum Compute solutions.”