Over the last 20 years there has been a steady increase in fundamental physics research and the hardware development needed to realize a quantum computer. However, in the last 5 years we have seen a dramatic increase in the interest from industry, including a variety of major semiconductor and technology leaders such as IBM, Google and Intel. This is the result of both a better understanding of the variety of problems that can be addressed and the impact that will come with quantum computing along with the emergence of a couple of potentially scalable hardware solutions. In a recent interview with a leading manufacturer, an aggressive strategy was laid out to achieve an operational 1000-qubit quantum computer within 5 years that can solve a variety of problems not addressable by conventional computing and the 10-year prospect to achieve a 1 million qubit machine that would “profoundly change society”.
The major technology leaders view quantum information (QI) as a technology that they must begin to develop and understand today. Augmenting existing technology with QI is desirable, but , there are a variety of technical challenges to making silicon-based QI systems with the needed quantum properties and coherence times. New challenges in atomic precision and individual atom or electron effects that fundamentally affect device performance bring on a variety of new manufacturing and metrology challenges. Measuring electron spin coherence, exchange energies, and qubit fidelity are entirely new measurements for the semiconductor industry. Even the resolution of TEM may be inadequate, as TEM of a nominally 80 nm thick slice of silicon which averages many atoms together in a measurement where only one or two atoms can deeply change device performance, coherence times, or introduce charge offsets. After developing some of the first cold atom and ion trap quantum information demonstrations at NIST, we are now investing significantly in developing the supporting metrology and modeling methods needed to help industry develop and commercialize this new technology.
In this presentation we will provide an overview of hardware solutions for quantum computing, future metrology needs and challenges to enable manufacturable quantum computers. Although industry leaders are now investing in superconducting qubits and silicon-based qubits, the two leading technologies, this talk will primarily focus on the principles of solid state silicon QI operation, manufacturing metrology solutions, and measurements needed to develop and evaluate viable technological solutions.