PsiQuantum announces $450 million funding to build a viable quantum computer

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Credit: PsiQuantum

PsiQuantum has raised $450 million in Series D funding to build the world’s first commercially viable quantum computer. Quantum computing is anticipated to unlock extraordinary advances across a broad range of applications from chemistry to finance and materials design.

PsiQuantum is focused on building a fault-tolerant quantum computer supported by a scalable and proven manufacturing process. The company has developed a technology in which single photons are manipulated using photonic circuits which are patterned onto a silicon chip using standard semiconductor manufacturing processes. PsiQuantum is manufacturing quantum photonic chips, as well as the cryogenic electronic chips to control the qubits, using the advanced semiconductor tools in the production line of PsiQuantum’s manufacturing partner GlobalFoundries.

Jeremy O'Brien, CEO and co-founder of PsiQuantum comments: ‘Quantum computing is the most profoundly world-changing technology uncovered to date. It is my conviction that the way to bring this technology into reality is by using photonics. Our company was founded on the understanding that leveraging semiconductor manufacturing is the only way to deliver the million qubits that are known to be required for error correction, a prerequisite for commercially valuable quantum computing applications. This funding round is a major vote of confidence for that approach.’

Tony Kim, managing director at BlackRock stated: 'A commercially viable, general-purpose quantum computer has the potential to create entirely new industries ready to address some the most urgent challenges we face, especially in climate, healthcare, and energy. To see this promising technology deployed within a reasonable time frame requires it to be built using a scalable manufacturing process. Silicon photonics combined with an advanced quantum architecture is the most promising approach we’ve seen to date.’

PsiQuantum was founded in 2016 and includes a growing team of engineers and scientists who are working on the entire quantum computing stack, from the photonic and electronic chips, through packaging and control electronics, cryogenic systems, quantum architecture and fault tolerance, to quantum applications. In May 2020, the company started manufacturing the silicon photonic and electronic chips that form the foundation of the Q1 system, a significant system milestone in PsiQuantum’s roadmap to deliver a fault-tolerant quantum computer.

Luke Ward, investment manager at Baillie Gifford added: ‘With its uniquely scalable approach, PsiQuantum is on track to deliver the world’s first useful quantum computer and unlock a powerful new era of innovation in the process. Whether it’s developing better battery materials, improving carbon capture techniques, or designing life-saving drugs in a fraction of the time, quantum computing is key to solving many of the world’s most demanding challenges.’

Samir Kumar, managing director at Microsoft’s venture fund M12 comments: ‘We are impressed by the technical progress we have seen in hardware development along with refinement of a novel quantum architecture ideally suited for photonics. PsiQuantum and Microsoft have a shared perspective on the need for a good number of logical qubits enabled by fault tolerance and error correction on 1 million-plus physical qubits, when it comes to building a truly useful quantum computer.’

When fault-tolerant quantum computers become available, humankind will be able to use them to solve otherwise impossible problems. PsiQuantum is currently working with global leaders in the healthcare, materials, electronics, financial, security, transportation, and energy sectors to identify and optimise algorithms and applications to support business readiness for the broad adoption of quantum computing.

The funding round was led by funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, along with participation from insiders including Baillie Gifford and M12 – Microsoft’s venture fund – and new investors including Blackbird Ventures and Temasek. PsiQuantum has now raised a total of $665 million in funding to date.

 

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