Oxford Ionics has raised £30 million in a bid to unlock the scalability of quantum computing.

The company, which holds multiple world records in its field, will use the Series A funding to bring its technology to market.

The round was led by Oxford Science Enterprises and Braavos Investment Advisers. Lansdowne Partners, Prosus Ventures, 2xN, Torch Partners and Hermann Hauser – founder of chip giant ARM – also participated. 

Founded in 2019 by Dr Chris Ballance (pictured) and Dr Tom Harty, Oxford Ionics takes a unique approach to designing and scaling one of the most promising quantum computing technologies – trapped-ions. As multiple technologies vie for position in our race for a quantum future, trapped-ions have long proved superior. 

The highest-performing quantum systems to date have all been powered by trapped-ions, and of those systems Oxford Ionics’ has been shown to consistently outperform the others. 

In tests, Oxford Ionics’ trapped-ion technology holds world records for the highest performance quantum operations, longest quantum coherence time, and highest performance quantum network. It has also achieved the highest performance ever demonstrated while using chips manufactured on a semiconductor production line. 

“If we’re to identify and unlock the true power and potential of quantum computing we need to crack the critical issues that are holding it back – scalability, integration and performance,” said Dr Ballance. 

“Our unique trapped-ion approach has been developed to address all three. At Oxford Ionics, we’re focused on building technologies that will help quantum computing finish the race, not just take small, incremental steps. 

“Our latest round of funding, and the knowledge, insight and expertise of our new investors bring us even closer to this goal.” 

Until now, trapped–ion systems have largely relied on lasers to control qubits. This approach performs well for small processors, but becomes untenable and error prone as the size of the processor scales, and the number of qubits increases. 

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Instead of lasers, Oxford Ionics’ trapped-ion processors use a proprietary, patented Electronic Qubit Control (EQC) system to control the qubits. This allows them to combine the quantum performance of individual atoms with the scalability and reliability of electronics integrated into silicon chips.

Not only does this approach deliver the highest level of performance possible, the company says it does so in a way that makes the Oxford Ionics processors integrable and scalable as standard – a first for any quantum computing technology. The startup has even proven the potential of this approach in a real-world environment, via its partnership with semiconductor manufacturer Infineon Technologies AG on its standard production line.

Dr Ballance’s research into experimental quantum key distribution was cited in the scientific release that accompanied this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics. The Oxford Ionics team between them have over 100 years of expertise in this space: 10 PhDs and more than 130 peer-reviewed scientific publications. The team has grown 10-fold over the past three years. 

Will Goodlad from Oxford Science Enteprises said: “Through its unique approach, developed by some of the world’s best minds in the quantum space, Oxford Ionics is laying the foundations to finally make quantum computing a scalable, integrable and viable option. 

“Building on more than a decade at the forefront of this sector, Chris, Tom and the team have been able to demonstrate, time and again, that their work in the lab can, and will, extend to the real world and we’re thrilled to be joining them on this journey.”

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