SCALINQ – Shaping the Future of Scaling Quantum Hardware
Quantum computing promises a new paradigm for computing that will solve certain problems much faster, exponentially faster, than a classical computer. Yet, this involves not only developing new quantum algorithms and programming languages on the software side but also building entirely new computing hardware. And in practical terms, this means wiring cables, placing qubits in a holder, and solving some tough engineering challenges.
While many large corporates and grown-up startups focus on building entire quantum computers or top-notch qubits, the Swedish startup SCALINQ builds hardware solutions to scale superconducting quantum computers more easily. Founded in 2022 by Zaid Saeed, Lisa Rooth, Robert Rehammar, Sandoko Kosen, and Giovanna Tancredi, SCALINQ made it into the Duality Accelerator for quantum startups.
Learn more about the future of scaling quantum hardware from our interview with the COO Lisa Rooth:
Why did you start SCALINQ?
Three of our co-founders are researchers at Chalmers University, working on building large-scale superconducting quantum computers. As you probably know, several challenges currently exist with building commercially relevant quantum computers. For instance, if you add more qubits to a processor, there is the problem of connecting the qubits to the readout electronics. Our co-founders experienced this problem firsthand and could not find a solution on the market. So they had to build their own. Once they had developed a solution and saw promising results, other research groups started showing interest, and they thought others might benefit from it too. Today, that solution is now SCALINQ’s first product, LINQER.
Zaid, who is now the CEO of SCALINQ, and I got in touch with them through an acquaintance at the university to help them investigate the commercial potential of SCALINQ. And from the start, it was clear to me that this was a great opportunity – not just the business aspects but the vast potential and impact of quantum computing.
We realized early on that there was a market for hardware solutions in the quantum computing field, as many researchers and companies would rather get with developing quantum computers than be bogged down with hardware problems that are mostly already solved somewhere in the world. So at the core of SCALINQ is the desire to take care of hardware problems and provide solutions that allow researchers and developers to focus on their core research, invariably saving them months, even years, of development.
How does it work?
Our first product, LINQER, is like a ”motherboard” for quantum computers, transferring the signal coming from room-temperature electronics to the processor and delivering it back again. We developed a design that includes cabling, shielding, and packaging and is easy to scale: Currently, it has between 16-80 connectors, accommodating 5-25 qubits. But it is designed to scale up and host processors with up to 300 connectors, accommodating 100 qubits, with high precision for a variety of different quantum processors. What’s most exciting about what we have managed with LINQER is that we can easily adapt the solution regardless of qubit count or chip size, something very important at this early stage when the industry does not yet have standard setups.
There is a lot more development to be done in this area, but you will have to wait a little longer before I can tell you more about our next-generation large-scale packaging. In any case, one of the main challenges for superconducting quantum computing is measuring the microwave performance in a cryostat. Also, creating high-density microwave packages is complex. Given these challenges, our vision is to become a leading supplier of hardware solutions that will help the community make commercially useful quantum computers a reality.
How did you evaluate your startup idea?
The macro trends were clear: Investments in the field were growing like never before, leading to more research efforts and more purchasing power. A the same time, many of the challenges the community is facing are from the engineering side. We realized that quantum computing development needs to be a parallel effort between industry and academia to create commercially useful computers. This is best done by bringing in niche knowledge from parallel fields, and we saw a clear gap in the millikelvin region and a strong need for more cost-efficient and high-performing hardware solutions.
Chalmers University of Technology and WACQT are really strong when it comes to quantum computing. In fact, two of our co-founders moved to Sweden specifically to work in the WACQT initiative. Gothenburg also has a strong presence in the microwave engineering industry, which is highly relevant when working with superconducting qubits. So, we could not have found ourselves in a better position.
Quantum is a whole different industry compared to cleantech, where I previously worked. Compared to cleantech, events and being a part of the community are much more important – and I really like that! Also, as the industry is still nascent, standards are now starting to develop, and we get to be a part of that process and help shape the industry, which is very exciting.
Who should contact you?
First off, anyone working with superconducting quantum computers can reach out if they are curious about our products. Our goal is to help researchers in their work, whether they are building large-scale machines or just starting out.
Secondly, we are looking for more people to join our team! Both engineers who are interested in quantum computing and physicists who want to get involved with hardware. We are also looking for non-technical roles, and I hope some of those who read this become curious and perhaps even consider moving into the field. The industry needs people with all sorts of backgrounds!
SCALINQ: Packaging Solutions for Superconducting Quantum Processors – Press release by the Duality Accelerator on SCALINQ joining cohort 2.
7 Quantum Companies to Watch Founded in 2022 – SCALINQ is among them! An analysis by The Quantum Insider.
Building blocks of a flip-chip integrated superconducting quantum processor – A publication by Sandoko Kosen, demonstrating the first step towards a high-performing quantum processor with a flip-chip architecture.