Diagram of Photonic’s Scalable Quantum Technology Architecture. Credit: Photonic Inc.

Photonic Inc. has raised $100 million USD to continue development of its unique silicon spin qubit architecture. The investors in this round include British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI), Microsoft Corporation, the UK government’s National Security Strategic Investment Fund (NSSIF), Inovia Capital, and Amadeus Capital Partners bringing the total amount invested in the company so far to $140 million USD. Photonic currently has 120 employees and is headquartered in Vancouver, Washington with additional offices in the UK and the United States. The funds will be used by the company to continue with their R&D efforts.

Besides the investment, Microsoft and Photonic, Inc. also announced an agreement to collaborate in two technical areas.

The first technical area is to leverage the Photonic’s qubit technology to create long distance quantum communications networks that could enable distributed quantum processing, blind quantum computation, quantum sensor networks, quantum key distribution (QKD), and other advanced applications. Both Photonic and Microsoft have a shared belief that entanglement distribution over long distances is a key capability that will be required in order to fully leverage the benefits of quantum technology.

Photonic’s silicon T-center technology offers some unique benefits for this application because it provides a silicon spin qubit with a photonic interface that provides easy connection of the photons to ultralow-loss standard telecom fibers for transmission. Photonic’s technology includes spin-photon interfaces in silicon, silicon integrated photonics, and quantum optics. Among other things, it can be used to develop a reliable and fault-tolerant quantum repeater with Photonic’s technology. Quantum repeater technology is still in development in a number of places, but is not yet available in any volumes outside of a handful of prototype devices. The companies have established a three stage roadmap to use this technology to create a long distance quantum network that will connect to the Azure cloud.

The second technical area of collaboration will be to integrate a future Photonic quantum processor with Microsoft Azure Quantum Elements service for usage in performing quantum simulations of materials and chemical problems. Photonic believes that their technology approach will allow them to offer a scalable, distributed, and fault-tolerant solution within five years, which would be very competitive with other roadmaps we have seen. One advantage of Photonic’s technical approach is that it provides for a high amount of connectivity between qubits. This lends itself to the use of a Low Density Parity Check (LDPC) error correction codes which are significantly more efficient and faster than other error correction codes such as the surface code, which is designed for topologies that are restricted to nearest neighbor connectivity.

Additional information about the new investment received by Photonic can be seen in a press release posted here. Information about the technical collaborations between Photonic and Microsoft is available in a press release located here and a Microsoft blog posting here. Additional information about Photonic’s technology is available in a press release here and a blog post from Photonics CEO Dr. Paul Terry here.

GQI has published a more detailed technical analysis of these announcements and what they might mean for the quantum industry that can be seen here.

November 8, 2023