Australia's Archer commences room-temperature quantum chip build

as Australia races to build the first quantum computer.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Sydney-based Archer Exploration has set off on a project to build a carbon-based quantum computing device that operates at room-temperature, starting with the chip.

Dubbed 12CQ, the project is opting to take the quantum computing device out of sub-zero temperature operation. According to the ASX-listed firm, while other devices use light or special materials which overcome the temperature challenge, integrating them into modern electronics is a difficult task.

"Neither of the current solutions are very practical for the everyday tech user," the company said. "12CQ provides a potential solution to unify those two challenges: An easily integrated quantum information processor for room-temperature operation."

The quantum chip forms the basis of IP that has been exclusively licensed with the University of Sydney, with chip prototypes being built at the Research & Prototype Foundry Core Research Facility at the Sydney Nanoscience Hub by Archer's Quantum Technology manager Dr Martin Fuechsle.

The company expects Fuechsle will begin building prototype devices by assembling atom-scale materials componentry.

At the same time, Canberra-based quantum cybersecurity firm QuintessenceLabs (QLabs) announced it had partnered with Tech Mahindra and BT for the development of an end-to-end video messaging application secured by Quantum Key Distribution (QKD).

Image: Supplied

Read more: How the industry expects to secure information in a quantum world

Speaking with ZDNet in September, QLabs CEO Vikram Sharma explained that QKD, unlike traditional encryption that uses mathematics to protect the transport of the key from one party to another, uses the principals of physics.

"If I send you a key which is encoded right at the quantum level -- in our case we do this by imprinting it on laser ... moving it on the frequency space -- and I do that hundreds of millions of times per second and I send it to you, if somebody tries to intercept that while it's in transit, because of the laws of quantum physics, their act of eavesdropping or interception will be revealed to you and I," he explained previously.

"We will then discard that key and we will only use a key when we've assured ourselves that there was no such interference, giving an absolutely secure way to transport the keys."

QLabs touts this as making the device invulnerable to increasing computational power, new crypto-attacks, and quantum computers.

The solution works by creating a secure room to enable communication, protected with keys provided by QLab's qCrypt Key Management Server. Once the key is synchronised, any communications are claimed to be secure and unhackable.

Tech Mahindra's Makers Lab developed the peer-to-peer video communication and file transfer application, and QLabs provided the core technology and key management solution, qCrypt.

"This is the glue that melds the underlying technical QKD system and the application layer on top. The separation of these layers has enabled Tech Mahindra's video application to be developed without any dependency on the underlying QKD system, demonstrating how this advanced technology can ultimately be used," the companies said in a statement.


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