MPQ scientists start planqc to build highly scalable quantum computer
In a first round of funding, the founders of the start-up just received 4.6 million euros.
Quantum computing startup planqc today announced a financing round of EUR 4.6 million led by UVC Partners and Speedinvest. With this funding, planqc will develop a highly scalable quantum computer operating at room temperature and based on atoms trapped in optical lattices. planqc was founded by a team of scientists from the Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics and Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich and is the first startup to emerge from the Munich Quantum Valley, one of the leading quantum technology hubs in Europe.
State-of-the-art digital quantum computers are currently limited in both number of qubits and gate quality. The number of qubits limits the amount of information that can be processed, but imperfect gates introduce errors (or “noise”) into the result of a computation. While these socalled NISQ devices (short for noisy intermediate-scale quantum) have recently outperformed classical computers on some abstract problems, they are still far away from demonstrating this so-called “quantum advantage” for industry-relevant problems.
“For me, the most exciting application of near-term quantum computers is the simulation of materials, and the platform based on atoms used in planqc is the best suited for that purpose,” says J. Ignacio Cirac, director at the Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ). “Once our quantum computers demonstrate quantum advantage for an industry-relevant problem, they will have a massive social and economic impact,” says Alexander Glätzle, CEO and co-founder of planqc, and previously a researcher at the University of Oxford.
planqc’s unique combination of quantum technologies is the fastest way to scale to thousands of qubits, a prerequisite for industry-relevant quantum advantage. planqc’s quantum computers store information in individual atoms – nature’s best qubits – and arrange them in highly scalable artificial crystals of light. Quantum information is then processed with quantum gates based on precisely controlled laser pulses, leveraging the ground-breaking fundamental research at MPQ and the world-leading German laser and photonics industry. “planqc’s quantum computers are built on the precision of the world’s best atomic clocks, the world’s best quantum gas microscopes, and high-speed Rydberg gates,” says Sebastian Blatt, CTO and co-founder of planqc, and researcher at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich.
planqc’s founding team combines decades of international research on neutral-atom quantum technologies at world-leading institutions like Harvard University, University of Oxford, the University of California Berkeley, University of Colorado, University of Innsbruck, CQT Singapore and MPQ. “Our atoms are more than a million times colder than deep space and over a thousand times colder than superconducting qubits used by IBM or Google, and yet we can run our computers in a room-temperature environment due to the near-perfect isolation of our qubits from the surrounding,” explains Johannes Zeiher, co-founder of planqc, researcher at MPQ. Zeiher adds: “we already routinely trap and control more than 2000 atoms in our optical lattice simulators at MPQ.”
The founding team is completed by Ann-Kristin Achleitner, member of several supervisory boards and financial expert as well as serial entrepreneur Markus Wagner, founder of i5invest. The team is supported by scientific advisors Immanuel Bloch and J. Ignacio Cirac, both directors at MPQ and famous for their seminal work on quantum simulation and quantum information, as well as quantum algorithm expert Dieter Jaksch, Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford and the University of Hamburg. “This world-class team combines the technical and commercial expertise to build the world’s most powerful quantum computers,” adds Amanda Birkenholz, Investment Manager at UVC Partners.
planqc is building quantum computers that store information in individual atoms – nature's best qubits. Quantum information is processed by arranging these qubits in highly scalable arrays and manipulating them with precisely controlled laser pulses. planqc’s unique combination of quantum technologies is the fastest way to scale to thousands of qubits, a prerequisite for industry-relevant quantum advantage. planqc was founded in April 2022 by Alexander Glätzle, Sebastian Blatt, Johannes Zeiher, Lukas Reichsöllner, together with Ann-Kristin Achleitner and Markus Wagner. planqc is based in Garching near Munich, Germany.