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An electronic device that operates at cryogenic temperatures while controlling spin quantum bits (qubits) has been unveiled by researchers in the Netherlands. The controller could help alleviate the “wiring bottleneck” that threatens the development of quantum computers that integrate large numbers of qubits.

Researchers are developing quantum computers using several different technologies and it is not yet clear which current technology – if any – will lead to the creation of low-cost, scalable devices. Most of the competing designs pose significant challenges related to device temperature. That is because quantum computing devices typically operate at cryogenic temperatures, making them much colder than the wires and other conventional electronics used to connect the quantum devices to the outside world. This radical temperature mismatch can thwart the design and operation of quantum devices.

Now, scientists at the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) have, in collaboration with Intel, circumvented this issue by showing that a quantum chip can be controlled by an electronic device held at cryogenic temperatures. Writing in">Nature, they report that their cryo-controller, called Horse Ridge, directed operations on a silicon-based quantum chip as successfully as more standard, off-the-shelf room temperature electronics.

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