SHARE: Making quantum hardware work for manufacturing technology

15. Februar 2023

Quantum computers can solve tricky problems faster than any conventional high-performance computer. They therefore promise advantages for complex optimizations in logistics or production in the future. But for this to work, the hardware of a quantum computer must first be made manageable. This is a field of research Fraunhofer IIS is devoting its attention to – for example, in the SHARE project.

While standard computers compute with ones and zeros, quantum computers superimpose multiple solutions and are thus much more efficient than conventional high-performance computers. However, their strength is also their weakness, because quantum computers do not yet deliver exact results, but probability distributions. Scalable Hardware and Systems Engineering, or SHARE, is a project that aims to make quantum computers supply results with more reliability. 

SHARE: Scalable Hardware and Systems Engineering

The project brings together a consortium of research institutions led by Fraunhofer IIS, with the focus on developing the electronics for the control and readout of the qubits. Besides developing electronic components and systems for future quantum computers, the researchers are also exploring semiconductor technology and integration. “While today’s commercial quantum computers work with around two dozen qubits, we in the SHARE project want to develop concepts for scaling beyond 100 qubits,” says Claudia Schlagenhaft, a project manager at Fraunhofer IIS. 

To push a technology as comprehensive as quantum computing further toward industrial use requires numerous areas of expertise. This is reflected in the SHARE project: the consortium comprises six partners and a total of 80 project staff. In the work on developing a manufacturing technology for superconducting quantum systems, Fraunhofer IIS is joined by the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Device Technology IISB, the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Microsystems and Solid State Technologies EMFT, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg and the Technical University of Munich. Fraunhofer IIS is the project leader for CT 1, Electronic Components and Systems. The partners for CT 1 are Fraunhofer EMFT, Fraunhofer IISB, the Department of Electrical, Electronic and Communication at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, and Fraunhofer IIS. 

One of the challenges is to design electronics for temperatures in the range of 4 kelvin or millikelvins, since a quantum computer using superconducting technology has qubits that operate at temperatures of a few mK.

Fraunhofer IIS also provides its expertise in hardware development and manufacturing; specifically, electromagnetic simulation and optimization, integrated electronics development, and control electronics. “In the field of quantum computing with neutral atom technology, the challenges lie in shielding the atoms better from the outside world. Fraunhofer IIS has been applying the necessary expertise in antenna design for decades,” says Dr. Thorsten Edelhäußer, the consortium’s co-speaker from Fraunhofer IIS. Economies of scale are on the agenda as well. “True, there are already devices on the market that generate the signals for a qubit,” he adds. “However, at the moment you need a relatively large amount of equipment in the lab to generate all these signals. We’re developing compact electronics that can generate their own wave forms on 400 channels so that we can control each individual atom with laser signals. The upscaling in this project is a necessary step for the commercial development of quantum computers so they can solve real-world problems.”

Embedded in the Munich Quantum Valley initiative

Overall project management for SHARE lies with Munich Quantum Valley (MQV), an initiative for research into quantum computing and technologies funded by the German state of Bavaria to the tune of around 300 million euros. It aims to create a sustainable environment for science and industry and thus brings together all consortia in the field of quantum computing under one roof. “MQV is our conduit to Bavaria,” Schlagenhaft says. 


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