Left: Interior of Goldeneye experimental Superfridge. Right: Exterior of Goldeneye. Credit: IBM.

In September 2020, IBM announced it was developing a large sized dilution refrigerator codenamed Goldeneye that they may use for future quantum processors. This fridge is roughly 10 feet x 6 feet in size and designed to provide an experimental volume for cooling of 1.7 cubic meters (about 60 cubic feet). In comparison, the current generation of dilution refrigerators available from commercial vendors contains about 0.4 to 0.7 cubic meters (about 14-24 cubic feet) for the devices. IBM has just announced that they have built a Goldeneye and have cooled it down to 25 millikelvin and successful installed and ran one of their quantum processor chips inside of it. This makes it the largest dilution refrigerator that exists anywhere in the world.

At this point, it appears that this project is still in the basic technology development proof of concept stage and IBM is not planning on using it on any of the processors under near term. For these processors, IBM is planning on using a dilution refrigerator that they are developing with BlueFors as part of the IBM System Two design they described at the IBM Quantum Summit in November 2021. However, there can be significant learning from a research project like Goldeneye and some of the technology developed may be useful for future production dilution refrigerator designs such as an IBM System Three design which could be used in new quantum processors that would be introduced in the second half of this decade.

Additional information about this development can be found in a blog post located on the IBM Research website here.

September 9, 2022