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A cryo-CMOS controller to overcome obstacles to large-scale quantum computers

Our latest work in the media!


QuTech has resolved a major issue on the road towards a working large-scale quantum computer. Together with Intel, we have designed and fabricated an integrated circuit that can operate at extremely low temperatures when controlling qubits, the essential building blocks of a quantum computer. This paves the way for the crucial integration of qubits and their controlling electronics in the same chip. After our presentation at the International Solid-State Circuit Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco, the news has spread and has been picked up worldwide by the media.


More information:

Best IP Award at DATE conference

Jeroen van Dijk (left) receiving the Best IP award at DATE 2018 (copyright: DATE 2018).

Jeroen van Dijk (left) receiving the Best IP award at DATE 2018 (copyright: DATE 2018).

Last week we were awarded the Best IP award at the DATE 2018 (Design Automation and Test in Europe) conference in Dresden!

In this work, we presented, for the first time, a comprehensive methodology to co-design a quantum processor and its electronic interface. As a result, this methodology will enable the design of the electronic interface for scalable quantum computers, i.e. quantum computers with enough power to address relevant practical problems.

A quantum computer fundamentally comprises a quantum processor and the classical controller required to manipulate the quantum bits (qubits). To enable the design of future quantum computers comprising millions of qubits, both the classical electronic and quantum processor must be simultaneously optimized. In the proposed co‐design methodology, qubit performance can be optimized while considering practical trade‐offs in the control circuits, such as power consumption, complexity, and cost. To this end, we have developed SPINE (SPIN Emulator), a toolset enabling the co-simulation of qubits (single‐electron spin qubits in the current implementation) and standard electronics. SPINE can run in Matlab or as a stand-alone C++ application, but also, more interestingly, its VerilogA implementation can be integrated into Cadence, the standard platform for integrated circuit design. As a result, the proposed toolset will be the basis for future electronic designers aiming to build the electronic interface for future scalable quantum computers.

A practical application of this toolset can be found in our new work posted on arXiv: The impact of classical control electronics on qubit fidelity.

The announcement on the DATE website

The paper on the DATE website:

Quantum operations on a 1024-Qubit Processor

Great news! NWO awarded an Open Technology Program grant to a team of PI comprising Carmina Almudever, Giordano Scapucci, Menno Veldhorst, and myself, all from TU Delft.

Quantum computers hold the promise to solve problems that are intractable even by the most powerful supercomputers. With a budget of 1.2 M€ and over the span of 5 years, we will investigate how to build a practical quantum computer, and move from the current lab prototypes towards quantum computers with the capability to solve real-life problems. Building on the expertise of a multi-disciplinary team, we will address the challenges of building a large-scale quantum computer by attacking the problems at several levels, ranging from material engineering and quantum operations up to cryogenic control electronics and computer architecture. Fats progress will be facilitated by collaborating with industrial partners: Intel, the world-leading computing company, that will contribute to the fabrication of large qubit arrays, and Bluefors, leader in cryogenic refrigeration, that will participate in the development and deployment of cryogenic electronics to interface with the qubits.

Stay tuned to hear about the progress! And drop a message if you are interested to participate in this research journey as a Ph.D. student!

Project description on the NWO website

Press release on QuTech website

The research team (from left to right): Menno Veldhorst, Giordano Scappucci, Fabio Sebastiano, and Carmina Almudever. Photo credits: Guus Schoonewille.

The project Principal Investigators (from left to right): Menno Veldhorst, Giordano Scappucci, Fabio Sebastiano, and Carmina Almudever.
Photo credits: Guus Schoonewille.


Fabio nominated Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE SSCS

The Distinguished Lecturer program of the IEEE Solid-State Circuit Society (SSCS) provides world-renowned experts in the field of integrated circuits (IC) to give lectures and seminars at regional and local venues around the world. The aim is to educate and spread knowledge on a wide range of topics focusing on state-of-the-art IC technology.

I am very glad to participate in this program, and I can’t wait to take the chance to spread the word about research topics close to my heart. To this extent, I am impatient to give these talks about cryogenic CMOS electronics for quantum computation and fully-integrated references:

  • Towards Large-Scale Quantum computers: Cryogenic CMOS for Scalable Quantum Computation
  • To XTAL or not to XTAL: the quest for fully integrated frequency references
  • References for smart sensors

To arrange a visit in the context of the SSCS DL program, you can contact me directly or visit the SSCL DL website.

List of Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Solid-State Circuit Society

Cryogenic circuits for a broad audience

Recently, Rosario and I wrote a popular-science article on cryo-CMOS circuits for quantum computing (and other cool applications). It was published in the last edition of Maxwell, the magazine of the Electrical Engineering study association (ETV) of the TU Delft. You can find it here:

Cool down your microchips to build a quantum computer… and do more!


New quantum chip fabricated by intel

Check out the latest developements in the Intel-QuTech collaboration:

Intel fabricated and packaged a 17-qubit superconducting quantum processor!


This year, we will have contributiuons both at ESSCIRC and at ESSDERC in Leuven:

  • M. Incandela, L. Song, H. Homulle, F. Sebastiano, E. Charbon, and A. Vladimirescu, “Nanometer CMOS Characterization and Compact Modeling at Deep-Cryogenic Temperatures,” ESSDERC 2017 – European Solid-State Device Research Conference, Leuven, Belgium, 11 – 14 Sep. 2017.
  • Pedalà, Ç. Gürleyük, S. Pan, F. Sebastiano, and K.A.A. Makinwa, “A Frequency-Locked Loop Based on an Oxide Electrothermal Filter in Standard CMOS,” ESSCIRC 2017 – European Solid-State Circuit Conference, Leuven, Belgium, 11 – 14 Sep. 2017.

Silicon Quantum Information Processing 2017

I will give an invited talk at SiQIP 2017 with title “Cryo-CMOS Electronics for Scalable Quantum Computing” in Lancaster in September.

2 presentations + poster at the Silicon Quantum Electronics Workshop

Coming August, my group will have several contributions at the Silicon Quantum Electronics Workshop in Hillsboro (OR). This is the reference workshop for the community working on silicon qubits, i.e. basically spin qubits.

We will have 2 presentations:

  • Jeroen van Dijk: Trade-offs in engineering a scalable cryogeni controller for solid-state spin-qubits
  • Bishnu Patra: Cryogenic frequency synthesis for qubit control: Analysis and Design

and several posters:

  • Rosario M. Incandela, Edoardo Charbon, Fabio Sebastiano: A 7-K noise temperature cryogenic CMOS LNA for scalable RF readout of spin qubits
  • M. Mehrpoo, F. Sebastiano, E. Charbon, M. Babaie: Design Considerations of Cryo-RFICs for Superconducting Qubits Readout
  • Andrea Ruffino, Masoud Babaie, Fabio Sebastiano, Edoardo Charbon: Cryo-CMOS circulators for spin and superconducting qubits

Cryo-CMOS at DAC 2017

I have been invited at DAC (Design Automation Conference) to give a talk on our work on cryo-CMOS for quantum computing. In particular, I will focus both on my group’s effort in design tools that can enable the design of cryogenic circuits for quantum computers, and on what the design automation industry will have to do to make quantum computers possible.