PsiQuantum opens R&D facility at Daresbury Laboratory

Ministerial visit to physics laboratory

Silicon Valley start-up PsiQuantum takes next steps to build the world’s first large scale quantum computer.

The, Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan, visited the Science and Technology facilities Council’s (STFC) Daresbury Laboratory to mark the official opening of PsiDaresbury, a new next-generation quantum computing centre.

Backed by £9 million UK government funding, it is PsiQuantum’s first research and development (R&D) facility anywhere outside the US.

Their aim is to build the world’s first large scale quantum computer, capable of solving commercially-relevant problems.

Tackling economic and societal problems

PsiQuantum’s new facility at Daresbury Laboratory, at Sci-Tech Daresbury in the Liverpool City Region, gives it vital access to STFC’s leading cryogenics experts, at one of Europe’s largest liquid-helium cryogenic plants.

Its work will lead on the development of advanced cryogenic systems, which are necessary as PsiQuantum’s single-photon detectors run at temperatures a few degrees above absolute zero (equivalent to −273.15°C).

This work represents a major step towards developing a ‘fault tolerant’ quantum computer, capable of solving commercially relevant problems.

Unprecedented computational capability

Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary, Michelle Donelan said:

PsiQuantum choosing to take the next crucial steps in the development of their technology here in the UK is a resounding vote of confidence in the UK’s quantum capabilities, bolstered by our National Quantum Strategy.

We are determined to drive the adoption of quantum technologies throughout our economy, with £2.5 billion backing over the next 10 years, to unlock untold advances in healthcare, green technology, and beyond.

Transforming the world we live in

Paul Vernon, Head of STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, said:

It is an honour to welcome the Secretary of State to STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, as we also warmly welcome one of the world’s most exciting quantum computing companies to the campus.

We are completely committed to working with PsiQuantum in its mission to build the world’s first large-scale quantum computer. With the wealth of quantum engineering talent here in the UK, together we are poised to achieve significant breakthroughs in quantum computing, with the potential to transform the world we live in.

To realise the full potential of quantum computing, error correction and fault tolerance are required to limit the number of errors in algorithm output.

They will be the first quantum computing systems capable of being commercially useful, and are predicted to trigger a major transformation across industries, from healthcare to climate technologies.

Global management consultancy, McKinsey & Company predicted that quantum computing technology will have a global market value of $1 trillion by 2035, and that industries should prepare now for this opportunity.

Preparing for a quantum transformation

During the PsiDaresbury launch event, PsiQuantum also announced a new collaboration with STFC’s Hartree Centre, aimed at cultivating practical industrial applications in preparation for the advent of large-scale, fault-tolerant quantum computing.

The Hartree Centre, also at Daresbury Laboratory, is home to some of the UK’s most advanced supercomputing experts and technologies, such as artificial intelligence and data analytics.

It provides UK industry with access to advanced high-performance computing technologies, expertise and training with the aim of boosting UK economic growth.

Supported by the National Security Strategic Investment Fund, this project combines the Hartree Centre’s industry and applications experience with PsiQuantum’s expertise in algorithm development for fault tolerant quantum computing.

Building a robust quantum ecosystem

The project with the Hartree Centre has three aims:

  • collaboratively develop algorithms to demonstrate the potential of PsiQuantum’s technology
  • facilitate PsiQuantum’s collaborations with industry partners
  • enhance the skillset of Hartree Centre experts in the field of quantum computing

Hartree Centre collaboration

Professor Mark Thompson, PsiQuantum Co-Founder and Chief Technologist said:

The existing cryogenic infrastructure and scientific talent available to us at Daresbury Laboratory was a key reason behind our decision to choose the UK as our first global expansion site.

We are also delighted to be working together with the Hartree Centre to develop fault-tolerant applications in anticipation of the arrival of utility-scale quantum computing.

Realising the potential of quantum computing

Kate Royse, Director of the STFC Hartree Centre, said:

Here at STFC’s Hartree Centre, we are extremely excited to be working in partnership with PsiQuantum, in its mission to build the technologies needed to realise the potential of quantum computing.

Quantum computing is set to change the world we live in, to transform industry and change our lives for the better. By bringing together the experience and capabilities of both the Hartree Centre and PsiQuantum, we are developing a capability in quantum technologies that will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of this field.

This is an exciting stepping stone towards building a significant and resilient quantum computing ecosystem for the North West.

Uniting world-leading experts and industry leaders

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, who also attended the launch event, said:

Our area has been an architect to some of the greatest inventions and discoveries that have transformed the world – and it’s a legacy we’re proud to be continuing today.

By uniting world-leading experts and industry leaders, we’re innovating further and faster than ever before and developing technology that has the potential to not only transform industry – but change the world we live in.

I want to establish the Liverpool City Region as a hotbed of innovation and new technology, and I’m confident that facilities like this will ensure that we can continue to attract highly skilled, well-paid jobs and opportunities from around the world to our area. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for this partnership.

Further information

A quantum economy

Quantum is one of the five critical technologies predicted to play a key role in the UK’s future economic growth. The National Quantum Strategy, backed by a government commitment of £2.5 billion over ten years, sets out how government will help to create an economy that is ready to realise the benefits offered by these technologies.

Quantum computers are anticipated to solve problems that would otherwise be impossible to solve on any supercomputer now or in the future, across industries including:

  • financial services
  • healthcare
  • climate technologies to drive large-scale decarbonisation

The UK’s National Quantum Technologies Programme (NQTP), and wider science programmes have helped to create a thriving ecosystem in the UK which PsiQuantum will only strengthen and help to accelerate the journey to fault tolerant machines. This includes collaborations with the STFC National Quantum Computing Centre and deep expertise held on the Daresbury site.

About PsiQuantum

Powered by breakthroughs in silicon photonics and fault-tolerant quantum architecture, PsiQuantum is building the first utility-scale quantum computer to solve some of the world’s most important challenges.

PsiQuantum’s approach is based on single-photon qubits, which have significant advantages at the scale required to deliver a fault-tolerant, general-purpose quantum computer.

With their photonic chips manufactured in a world-leading semiconductor fab, PsiQuantum is uniquely positioned to deliver quantum capabilities reaching the scale needed to drive advances in climate technologies, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, finance, energy, agriculture, transportation, communications, and beyond. To learn more, visit PsiQuantum.

The NQTP and National Quantum Strategy

The UK NQTP is a £1 billion dynamic collaboration between industry, academia and government. It represents and guides the fission of a leading-edge science into transformative new products and services.

The NQTP supports ideas, innovation and investment to secure UK advantage and opportunities in the globally competitive new quantum era. The NQTP acts as a cornerstone for the underpinning scientific research, skills training and international collaboration vital to building a resilient UK quantum-enabled economy.

The National Quantum Strategy published in March 2023 commits a further £2.5 billion over ten years to the development and commercialisation of quantum technologies for the benefit of society and the economy.

Top image:  The Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan, visited STFC's Daresbury Laboratory for the official opening of PsiQuantum's new quantum computing centre. Credit: STFC and PsiQuantum

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