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Quantum Computing

Towards effective, manufacturable quantum computing

Published on 17 March 2021

Quantum Computing

CEA-Leti: building a silicon-based path to effective, manufacturable quantum computing

Since the 1940s, semiconductor technologies have enabled development of increasingly capable computers, with today’s extraordinarily powerful systems utilizing fingernail-sized pieces of silicon that contain billions of transistors. Now, there is wide interest in extending these capabilities even further with a concept first theorized in the 1980s: the use of quantum phenomena to perform computation. Early experimental demonstrations suggest that the ability to harness quantum physics to solve extremely challenging problems may be coming within reach.

Diverse experimental platforms have been evaluated in the quest to fabricate qubits, the quantum bits that are broadly analogous to the bits used in classical computing. Many organizations around the world are pursuing these capabilities,
along four primary paths:

  • Superconductors
  • Photonics
  • Trapped ions
  • Electron spin within semiconductors (silicon)

It’s too early in the process to declare a "winner," and different approaches might prove to be suitable for different applications. But there is good reason to think that the silicon-based approach, in which semiconductor devices are used to create arrays of electrostatic-potential traps to isolate single electrons, is a leading candidate to meet three critical criteria:

  • Effective on a fundamental level
  • Manufacturable using well-proven processes and materials
  • Able to be integrated with classical (silicon-based) computing systems


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