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A quantum computer in a built-in cabinet

A quantum computer in a built-in cabinet

Innsbruck-based startup Alpine Quantum Technologies develops and builds quantum computers and quantum hardware components, making them also accessible to companies and public institutions via a cloud solution. ÖAW's successful demonstration is now investigating new applications for the Austrian quantum system.

A quantum computer the size of a built-in IKEA closet? This unconventional idea has become a reality thanks to Innsbruck startup Alpine Quantum Technologies (AQT). The company relies on the compact design of the AQT sleeve system, which fits on two 19-inch shelves.This is the standard format common in server rooms and data centers. This modular design consisting of several encapsulated modules stacked on top of each other makes the quantum system flexible for various applications; It can be easily integrated into traditional IT infrastructures and run from any computer or laptop, regardless of location.

The idea for this came from Tyrolean quantum physicists Rainer Platt, Thomas Munz and Peter Zoller. They founded AQT in 2018 as a branch of the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW). Their goal: to be able to deliver basic research results on an industrial scale.

Technology based on ion traps and lasers

Successfully: AQT relies on qubits made of electrically charged atoms, called ions, which are captured in traps and treated with lasers. This technology not only provides better protection and lower error rates, but also allows the system to operate at room temperature without relying on special cooling or power infrastructure, explains Franz Domig, Marketing Director at AQT. “Our AQT systems operate at a constant room temperature of 22°C and require less than 2 kilowatts of electricity – roughly the equivalent of a boiler,” he says.

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In addition to developing quantum computers, AQT also offers its components, such as laser stabilization devices, as well as computing power via the cloud. “We provide computing power and gateways. This means that research institutions and companies can access our system from anywhere via the cloud, perform calculations and get results from us,” says Domig.

The concept behind it: Instead of starting from scratch, existing components of a quantum computer could be used. “This not only speeds up the development process, but also allows experiments to be conducted more efficiently,” says an AQT spokesperson.

Made in Europe

AQT does not produce all of the individual parts itself. A lot of things are produced in Austria, and materials and equipment are largely sourced from Europe. Domig: “We consciously rely on European components so as not to make ourselves dependent on other continents. The current race for supremacy in quantum computing is primarily about component quality.

That's why AQT is constantly working to make components, entire quantum computers, and cloud access faster and more stable. In this regard, the startup is working closely with other companies and universities to increase the number of qubits and thus develop more powerful quantum computers. Dommig explains that these will play a complementary role in the future, that is, when classical computers reach their physical limits.

Basic research as a basis

For him, one thing is certain: AQT cannot be conceived without years of fundamental research in the field of quantum physics. It formed the basis for the founding of the company and continues to provide an important driving force for its development. Has the potential for academic benefits in Austria been sufficiently exploited? “I think there is more to it. Entrepreneurship needs to be greatly freed from barriers and bureaucracy. Startups in Asia and the US have a clear competitive advantage here,” says Domig.

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