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Semiconductors and Components

Cypress to Make Quantum Processors

24 October 2013

D-Wave Systems Inc. (Burnaby, British Columbia) has successfully transferred proprietary process technology for the manufacture of its supercooled quantum computing processors to a wafer fab in Bloomingtom, Minn., belonging to Cypress Semiconductor Corp.

The technology transfer began in January 2013. Cypress said its Cypress Wafer Foundry delivered silicon back to D-Wave on June 26.

D-Wave was founded in 1999 and has developed a Josephson junction based superconducting processor for quantum computing. Josephson junctions are voltage-to-frequency converters that are sensitive to voltage, current and magnetic fields that are made of a superconducting wire interrupted by an insulating link, usually in the form of a nanometer-scale layer between metallic layers. When operated at close to absolute zero temperature, such devices are used to make superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs) and used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners.

D-Wave operates its own wafer fab using 200-mm wafers that manufactures 0.5-micron junctions and 0.25-micron lines and spaces. The company has created a supercooled computer, the 512-qubit D-Wave Two computer, and has installed one at laboratory being set up jointly by NASA, Google and the Universities Space Research Association at the AMES Research Center in Mountain View, Calif.

Lockheed-Martin has recently upgraded its 128-qubit D-Wave One system to a 512-qubit D-Wave Two computer. Cypress did not indicate if it is yet manufacturing quantum-computing components for D-Wave commercially.

According to material on D-Wave's website, its 128-qubit processor has a die size of 4.6-mm by 7.2-mm, an active circuit area of 2.8 square millimeter and includes a total of 23,360 JJs, with 1,920 implemented at critical dimensions at around 0.6-micron and 21,440 JJs at greater than micrometer scale.

"We selected Cypress as a foundry for their ability to support our unique materials and processing flow, while allowing us to leverage the consistency and yield of a production-scale wafer fab. The yield results we saw on first silicon exceeded our expectations and validate that Cypress was the right foundry choice for our technology development and processor production," said Eric Ladizinsky, co-founder and chief scientist at D-Wave, in a statement issued by Cypress.

D-Wave includes Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Goldman Sachs and In-Q-Tel amongst its investors.

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