Horse Ridge II, Intel's cryogenic control chips take a step forward

Horse Ridge II, Intel's cryogenic control chips take a step forward
On the occasion of Intel Labs Day, Intel unveiled Horse Ridge II, its second generation cryogenic control chip. Building on the innovations introduced with the first generation Horse Ridge controller, introduced in 2019, Horse Ridge II supports enhanced capabilities and higher levels of integration for sophisticated quantum system control. New features include the ability to manipulate and read qubit states and control the potential of different gates required to correlate multiple qubits.

Jim Clarke, director of Quantum Hardware, Components Research Group, at Intel, has stated:

With Horse Ridge II, Intel continues to lead innovation in the field of cryogenic quantum controls, thanks to our in-depth interdisciplinary expertise between the IC design team, the Labs and the technology development team . We believe that increasing the number of qubits without taking into account the resulting cabling complexities is comparable to having a racing car and always being stuck in traffic. Horse Ridge II makes controlling quantum circuits even more agile and we expect this further advancement to bring higher fidelity and lower power consumption, taking us another step towards developing a 'traffic-free' quantum IC.

Horse Ridge II is based on the ability, known as the qubit drive, of the first generation SoC to generate radio frequency pulses to manipulate the state of the qubit. It features two new control functions, paving the way for further integration into the SoC of external electronic controls that operate inside the cryogenic chiller.

The addition of a programmable microcontroller that operates inside the integrated circuit allows Horse Ridge II to provide higher levels of flexibility and sophisticated controls in how the three control functions are performed. The microcontroller uses digital signal processing techniques to perform additional filters on the pulses, helping to reduce crosstalk between qubits.

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Horse Ridge II is implemented using Intel Low Power 22nm FinFET Technology (22FFL) and has been tested to work at 4 ° kelvin. Today, a quantum computer operates in the millikelvin range, only a fraction of a degree above absolute zero. But silicon spin qubits - the basis of Intel's work in quantum computing - have properties that could allow them to operate at temperatures of 1 kelvin or higher, which would significantly reduce the cooling problems of the quantum system.

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