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A merry quantum Christmas indeed: Take-off grant awarded to PiCard project.

Date of news: 28 December 2022

Christmas came a little early this year for two of our researchers at HFML-FELIX. Prof. dr. Britta Redlich and dr. Viktoria Eless received word just last week that The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has granted a Phase 1 Take-off grant to their PiCard project regarding the development of quantum information hardware! Receiving this funding will definitely help with the growth of the project, through the creation of the start-up company PiCard Systems.

A Phase 1 Take-off grant is awarded to promising projects about to make the next step towards commercial development. It intends to enable researchers to cross the oftentimes difficult gap between scientific interest and commercial applicability, by bridging the so-called “development purgatory” in which their project is less likely to receive funding from either side. The Phase 1 grant assigned to Prof. dr. Redlich, dr. Eless, and co-founder of PiCard Systems Bart Pet consists of approximately 40.000 euros.

This is already the second time the PiCard project receives funding, after attaining an initial sum of 2500 euros from a local government organization (Oost NL) last summer. It is promising that this project was once again selected out of a relatively large number of competitors. Interest in quantum computing is bound to only increase further since The Nobel Prize in Physics 2022 was awarded to 3 scientists who pioneered the way for quantum computing.

PiCard Systems, a start-up company born from the PiCard project, will focus on developing quantum hardware that provides infrastructure support for quantum computing. With their first device, the πcard, they aim to create a piece of complementary hardware for quantum computers, which has the potential to solve challenges currently inhibiting the progress and practical applicability of the technology as is. For instance, make it possible to have a kind of “storage” on a quantum computer, enabling them to retain certain information and files for a longer period of time.

To achieve this, PiCard Systems is exploring a combination of silicon technology, FIR optics, and cryogenics. The availability of the free-electron lasers at HFML-FELIX laboratory enables them to use this novel approach.