Intel’s New Chip to Advance Silicon Spin Qubit Research for Quantum Computing

By | June 15, 2023

Intel is making a new quantum chip available to universities and federal research labs to expand the quantum computing research community.

What is new: Today, Intel announced the release of its newest quantum research chip, Tunnel Falls, a 12-qubit silicon chip, and is making the chip available to the quantum research community. In addition, Intel is partnering with the Laboratory for Physical Sciences (LPS) at the University of Maryland, College Park’s Qubit Collaboratory (LQC), a national level Quantum Information Sciences (QIS) Research Center, to advance quantum computing research.

This press release contains multimedia. See the full release here:

An image shows one of Intel’s Tunnel Falls chips on a human finger to show its scale. Silicon spin qubits are up to 1 million times smaller than other qubit types. The Tunnel Falls chip measures approximately 50 nanometers square, potentially allowing for faster scaling. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

“Tunnel Falls is Intel’s most advanced silicon spin qubit chip to date and draws on the company’s decades of transistor design and manufacturing expertise. The release of the new chip is the next step in Intel’s long-term strategy to build a full-stack commercial quantum computing system. While there are still fundamental questions and challenges to be resolved on the path to a fault-tolerant quantum computer, the academic community can now explore this technology and accelerate research development.”

–Jim Clarke, director of Quantum Hardware, Intel

Why it matters: Currently, academic institutions do not have the high volume manufacturing equipment that Intel does. With Tunnel Falls, scientists can immediately start working on experiments and research instead of trying to manufacture their own devices. As a result, a wider range of experiments becomes possible, including learning more about the fundamentals of qubits and quantum dots and developing new techniques for working with multi-qubit devices.

To further address this, Intel is partnering with LQC as part of the Qubits for Computing Foundry (QCF) program through the US Army Research Office to deliver Intel’s new quantum chip to research labs. The collaboration with LQC will help democratize silicon spin qubits by enabling researchers to gain hands-on experience working with scaled arrays of these qubits. The initiative aims to strengthen the development of the workforce, open the doors to new quantum research and grow the overall quantum ecosystem.

The first quantum laboratories participating in the program include LPS, Sandia National Laboratories, the University of Rochester, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. LQC will work with Intel to make Tunnel Falls available to additional universities and research labs. The information gathered from these experiments will be shared with the community to advance quantum research and to help Intel improve qubit performance and scalability.

“The LPS Qubit Collaboratory, in partnership with the Army Research Office, seeks to tackle the tough challenges facing qubit development and develop the next generation of scientists who will create the qubits of tomorrow,” said Charles Tahan, Chief of Quantum Information Science , LPS. “Intel’s participation is an important milestone in democratizing the exploration of spin qubits and their promise for quantum information processing, and exemplifies the LQC’s mission to bring industry, academia, national laboratories and government together.”

Dr. Dwight Luhman, distinguished member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories, said: “Sandia National Laboratories is pleased to be the recipient of the Tunnel Falls chip. The device is a flexible platform that enables quantum researchers at Sandia to directly compare different qubit encodings and develop new qubit operating modes that were not possible for us before. This level of sophistication allows us to innovate new quantum operations and algorithms in the multi-qubit regime and accelerate our learning rate in silicon-based quantum systems. The expected reliability of Tunnel Falls will also allow Sandia to rapidly onboard and train new personnel working with silicon qubit technologies.”

Mark A. Eriksson, Department Chair and John Bardeen Professor of Physics, Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, said: “UW-Madison researchers, with two decades of investment in the development of silicon qubits, are very excited to collaboration in the launch of LQC. The opportunity for students to work with industrial devices that benefit from Intel’s microelectronics expertise and infrastructure opens up important opportunities both for technical advancement and for training and workforce development.”

About Tunnel Falls: Tunnel Falls is Intel’s first silicon spin qubit device released to the research community. Fabricated on 300-millimeter wafers in the D1 fabrication facility, the 12-qubit device leverages Intel’s most advanced industrial transistor manufacturing capabilities, such as extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) and gate and contact processing techniques. In silicon spin qubits, information (0/1) is encoded in the spin (up/down) of a single electron. Each qubit device is essentially a single electron transistor, which allows Intel to manufacture it using a similar flow to that used in a standard complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) logic processing line.

Intel believes that silicon spin qubits are superior to other qubit technologies because of their synergy with advanced transistors. Being the size of a transistor, they are up to 1 million times smaller than other qubit types, measuring approximately 50 nanometers by 50 nanometers, potentially allowing for efficient scaling. According to Nature Electronics, “Silicon may be the platform with the greatest potential to deliver scaled-up quantum computing.”

At the same time, the use of advanced CMOS manufacturing lines enables Intel to use innovative process control techniques to enable yield and performance. For example, the Tunnel Falls 12 qubit device has a 95% across-the-wafer yield and voltage uniformity equivalent to a CMOS logic process, and each wafer provides over 24,000 quantum dot devices. These 12-dot chips can form between four to 12 qubits that can be isolated and used in operations simultaneously, depending on how the university or lab runs its systems.

What’s next: Intel will continuously work to improve the performance of Tunnel Falls and integrate it into its full quantum stack with the Intel Quantum Software Development Kit (SDK). Additionally, Intel is already developing its next-generation quantum chip based on Tunnel Falls; it is expected to be released in 2024. In the future, Intel plans to collaborate with additional research institutions globally to build the quantum ecosystem.

More context: Intel Labs Quantum Computing Backgrounder | Intel Labs (Press Kit) | Intel Quantum Researchers Introduce Tunnel Falls Silicon Qubit Research Chip (Video) | Intel Introduces Tunnel Falls Silicon Qubit Research Chip (Video) | Quantum Computing Laboratory in Oregon (B-Roll Video)

About Intel

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) is an industry leader creating world-changing technology that enables global progress and enriches lives. Inspired by Moore’s Law, we continuously work to advance the design and manufacture of semiconductors to help solve our customers’ greatest challenges. By integrating intelligence into the cloud, the network, the edge and every kind of computing device, we unlock the potential of data to transform business and society for the better. To learn more about Intel’s innovations, go to and

© Intel Corporation. Intel, the Intel logo and other Intel marks are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

Laura Stadler


Source: Intel Corporation

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