IonQ teaming with US Department of Energy to produce domestic barium qubits for quantum computing

The quantum computing company and US federal agency are trying to create a stable, domestic pipeline for sourcing the barium qubits used in quantum processors built by IonQ.
Written by Michael Gariffo, Staff Writer

IonQ revealed that it has joined forces with the US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to begin producing a stable, domestic source for barium qubits. The duo claims their joint efforts will allow them to "be able to supply qubits for [IonQ's] quantum computers in perpetuity." 

In addition to creating a reliable supply, the duo also managed to shrink the size of individual qubits down to "a microscopic scale." According to the company, the result is a way to create quantum computers small enough to be networked together. 

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Peter Chapman, President and CEO of IonQ, called the accomplishments a "fundamental step in the mass commercialization of quantum computing." 

The first fruits of the partnership have already been integrated into IonQ's first barium-based quantum computer. The company claims the new unit is "intended to be even faster, more powerful, and more easily connected than IonQ's current commercial systems." 

This joint announcement follows several other collaborations at IonQ, including its joining of the Northwest Quantum Nexus (NQN) alongside Microsoft and the University of Washington. The regional partnerships are expected to support IonQ's ambitions in the region, which include the foundation of a new, Seattle-based produce engineering facility. 

IonQ is also currently working with Hyundai to apply its quantum computing hardware to the task of testing materials for use in EV batteries, potentially hinting at one of the processing tasks these new barium-based qubits could power. 

The developments are expected to help the quantum computing community at large, as well as IonQ. A PNNL materials scientist, Marvin Warner, noted that he is "thrilled to contribute PNNL's chemistry expertise to the quantum computing community." 

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