Intel achieves key milestone in quantum chip production research
October 5, 2022 – Intel labs and component research organizations have demonstrated the industry’s highest yield and uniformity to date for silicon spin qubit devices developed at the research and development center of Intel transistors, Gordon Moore Park at Ronler Acres in Hillsboro, Oregon. This achievement represents a major milestone for scaling and manufacturing quantum chips on Intel’s transistor manufacturing processes.
The research was conducted using Intel’s second-generation silicon spin test chip. Testing the devices using the Intel cryoprober, a quantum dot test device that operates at cryogenic temperatures (1.7 Kelvin or -271.45 degrees Celsius), the team isolated 12 quantum dots and four sensors . This result represents the industry’s largest silicon electron spin device with a single electron at each location across an entire 300 millimeter silicon wafer.
Today’s silicon spin qubits are typically presented on a single device, whereas Intel research demonstrates success across an entire wafer. Manufactured using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, the chips exhibit remarkable uniformity, with an efficiency rate of 95% across the entire wafer. Using the cryoprober with robust software automation has enabled over 900 single quantum dots and over 400 last electron double dots, which can be characterized to one degree above absolute zero in less than 24 hours.
The increased yield and uniformity of characterized devices at low temperatures compared to previous Intel test chips allows Intel to use statistical process control to identify areas of the manufacturing process to optimize. This accelerates learning and represents a crucial step towards scaling up the thousands or potentially millions of qubits required for a commercial quantum computer.
Additionally, the yield between wafers allowed Intel to automate data collection across the wafer in the single-electron regime, enabling the largest demonstration of single and double quantum dots to date. This increased efficiency and uniformity in devices characterized at lower temperatures compared to previous Intel test chips represents a crucial step towards scaling up the thousands or potentially millions of qubits required for a commercial quantum computer.
“Intel continues to make progress toward manufacturing spin qubits in silicon using its own transistor manufacturing technology,” said James Clarke, director of Quantum Hardware at Intel. “The high yield and consistency achieved shows that fabricating quantum chips on Intel’s established transistor process nodes is the right strategy and a strong indicator of success as the technologies mature for commercialization.
“Going forward, we will continue to improve the quality of these devices and develop larger-scale systems, with these milestones serving as building blocks to help us move forward quickly,” Clarke said.
The full results of this research will be presented at the 2022 Silicon Quantum Electronics Workshop in Orford, Quebec, Canada on October 5, 2022.
For further exploration, you can read more about Intel Labs’ research in quantum computing and other breakthroughs in hot qubits, cryogenic chips, and its collaboration with QuTech.