Quantum Manufacturing

In a blog posted on Feb 10, D-Wave CEO Vern Brownell notes that four fundamental decisions made in the early days of D-Wave enabled us to build the world’s first scalable quantum computer. One was “a focus on fabrication – from the beginning”:

The focus on a way to manufacture superconducting quantum integrated circuits that can scale in performance has been crucial to our success.  Think about how important and necessary semiconductor manufacturing technology (aka fabrication) has been for scaling the hardware and software ecosystems that we take for granted today.   This fabrication technology will be just as important as an industry is created to build and scale the upcoming quantum computing hardware and software ecosystems.”

In order to get to where we are today, delivering 512-qubit systems to customers, we have developed the most advanced superconducting fabrication process in the world. Basing our quantum processors on macroscopic superconducting metals rather than exotic subatomic structures makes all the difference, allowing us to leverage commodity toolsets and the decades of innovation in semiconductor manufacturing.

This, and our partnership with Cypress Semiconductor, is a key part of what will enable us to continue to scale processors far beyond our current technology.

Our work with Cypress started just over a year ago, and it represented a transition from a research-oriented, boutique manufacturing process to a mature production environment. Cypress is a leader in semiconductor manufacturing, and has a proven track record in terms of quality and delivery.

Scaling our processors involves more than just increasing the number of qubits. It also requires increasing control precision, reducing environmental noise, and increasing connectivity between the qubits. Developing and maintaining best in class manufacturing yields is a key part of our ability to rapidly explore all scaling and performance dimensions, and the new process implemented at Cypress has already resulted in significantly better yields than we were seeing previously.

Our 1000 qubit processor pushes the state of the art in superconductor integrated circuit fabrication with more than 100,000 Josephson junctions (these tunnel junctions are the superconductor equivalent of a transistor in our circuits). Today the first 1000 qubit processors are in our labs, and chip yield is excellent.

We are thrilled with the results from our partnership with Cypress. After a year spent building a new fabrication process of unprecedented capability, we are on track to push that success to our quantum processors and we are still just at the start of this quantum journey. Stay tuned.

Eric Ladizinsky, D-Wave Co-founder and Chief Scientist