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Quantum Brilliance snags $18M funding on synthetic diamond road to quantum chips

Jan 31, 2024

Quantum Brilliance hit the quantum computing scene in 2019 with an ambitious vision to apply synthetic diamond technology for quantum accelerators. The Australia-based company's approach is meant to skirt the need for superconducting infrastructure or microscale laser-manipulation, thus freeing quantum systems to work on the network edge – and even at the edge of space.

The company today announced an $18 million fundraise from investors such as Breakthrough Victoria, Main Sequence, Investible, Ultratech Capital, MA Financial, Jelix Ventures, Rampersand and CM Equity.

That will help forward its efforts to reduce the footprint required for quantum computing, and pursue collaboration such as last year's pact with Nvidia to develop a hybrid quantum-classical computing platform.

Also, for 2023, the company is envisioning launching several software products alongside field trials of their hardware.

Founded by Marcus Doherty, Andrew Horsley and Mark Luo, who are experts in diamond quantum science technology, translation of quantum technology and the development of startup and innovation businesses respectively, the Australian National University spin-off positions itself as a global developer of room-temperature miniaturized quantum computing products and solutions.

Over the last four years, Quantum Brilliance has grown from three founders to over 90 people across Australia and Germany. It has been built around centers for some of the world's leading talent in diamond quantum technology, semiconductors and high-performance computing, and has roughly equal footing in each country.

Quantum Brilliance primarily offers products covering hardware, software and emulation. The Quantum Development Kit is its early prototype hardware. It is a 19-inch unit, approximately the size of a desktop computer, that operates as a fully functional quantum computer at room temperature. It can be integrated with a variety of computing systems, does not require cryogenics or vacuum chambers to operate and currently contains two qubits.

The role of the Quantum Development Kit is to enable early adopters of quantum technology to begin experimenting with integration hardware into existing systems such as high-performance computing environments or autonomous vehicles.

Quantum Brilliance's goal is quantum capability that is not just limited to supercomputing environments, but can be applied to any use case where classical hardware can be accelerated by edge quantum technology – that means robotics, autonomous vehicles or satellites.

"Quantum Brilliance's Software Development Kit and high-performance Quantum Emulator currently allow users to find, develop and validate applications where quantum hardware will deliver advantage over classical computers of a similar size, weight and power [or SWaP]," said Marcus Doherty, Ph.D., chief scientific officer for Quantum Brilliance.

Quantum application development's next frontier is particularly relevant for edge applications, where the Quantum Emulator can emulate real quantum hardware of relatively low SWaP and enable users to determine the number of qubits where quantum hardware will outperform edge classical devices, he added.

In the future, Quantum Brilliance will seek to accelerate tasks across a broad range of use cases, such as computational chemistry, database management, logistics optimization, edge signal image processing, machine learning and artificial intelligence at the edge, human-machine interfacing and autonomous motion planning in autonomous vehicles.

"All require either many quantum computers working together, or distributed quantum computers embedded in edge systems. The primary goal in each use case is to use Quantum Brilliance's edge quantum accelerator hardware to deliver the required computational power density within the SWaP constraints," said Doherty.

Quantum Brilliance established the Research Hub for Diamond Quantum Materials in Victoria, Australia, in April 2022 to accelerate the development of diamond quantum computers, in particular the material engineering required to realize an integrated quantum chip. This hub was started with leading quantum diamond institutions La Trobe University and RMIT University to enhance the computational power of synthetic diamond-based quantum computers with techniques that can transition to manufacturing systems in large volumes.

"Quantum Brilliance has already invested over $3 million into the Research Hub, which has been matched by government funding and has resulted in new capabilities and new jobs in Victoria and the nucleus of what could become a Quantum Diamond Foundry in Melbourne," said Doherty. With the new funds, the company plans to expand the hub and continue to work with its research partners to offer industry Ph.D. positions in Victoria to build the next generation of talent in Australia.

As things stand, Australia is already known as a world leader in quantum science and technology research, owing to early and sustained national investment over the last two decades. Over the last five years, it also has a rapidly growing quantum industry with some of the highest performing and distinct quantum computing startup companies such as Q-CTRL, Silicon Quantum Computing, Diraq and Quantum Brilliance; as well as major investments from established corporations such as Google and IBM to establish technology and capture talent in Australia. This has been supported by a very active and quantum-aware local venture capital market as well as global connections.

"With this new investment in Quantum Brilliance, along with other recent investments in Australian-based quantum tech companies, the country of Australia is setting themselves up to be a much larger player in the quantum computing industry than they have previously been in the traditional computing industry," said Doug Finke, analyst for Global Quantum Intelligence.

"An interesting factor of today's quantum landscape is the diversity of approaches to provide quantum-based solutions that can achieve quantum advantage over classical computing. This is a good thing because the technology is hard and a diversity of approaches will increase the odds of success for the industry as a whole."

Finke said several of the Australian-based startups are indeed taking their own path to quantum acceleration, citing Quantum Brilliance with its synthetic diamond–based approach as a prime example.Diamond quantum technology is joining a still-growing field of quantum technologies just beginning to come online. More prominent approaches to date include gate-based superconducting quantum computers, ion-trapping machines, neutral-atom quantum computers and others. In the synthetic diamond space, Quantum Brilliance is joined by computing and sensing technologies pioneers such as Nvision, Quantum Diamond Technologies Inc. and others.

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