Science and Medicine

From FBK the quantum simulator of the future

17 June 2020 | Written by La redazione

The Bruno Kessler Foundation coordinates EPIQUS, a project funded by the European Commission that will develop a new generation "quantum simulator"

3.2 million euros to develop the quantum simulator of the future. It is the sum that the European Commission has earmarked for the financing of EPIQUS, a project coordinated by the Bruno Kessler Foundation and in which the University of Trento also participates as part of the Horizon 2020 FET – Future Emerging Technologies initiative.


EPIQUS, acronym for Elecronic-photonic integrated quantum simulator platform, has the ambition to develop a new generation of quantum simulators, consisting of a chip-sized device, fully integrated, operating at room temperature and with scalable power, being able to support many parallel devices. These features are innovative compared to the solutions present on the quantum market today: for example, current devices are based on qubits (the fundamental unit of quantum information) or superconductors generated at temperatures below -270oC. The areas of application are very vast and range from the world of research to that of industry.


An ambitious project. “What we want to achieve is extremely ambitious, – explains Mher Ghulinyan, researcher of the Bruno Kessler Foundation and project coordinator – and the execution and success of the project are based on multidisciplinary skills. These elements of complexity, novelties and innovative perspectives for quantum technologies have led to a positive evaluation by the European Commission, which with the FET scheme intends to finance high risk projects but with very high impact potential “. In fact, the project combines technologies and skills from different disciplines: integrated quantum photonics, micro and nano fabrication technology, photonic and electronic circuit engineering, quantum optics and spectroscopy, quantum information theory and software design. It is also a result of the interinstitutional Q @ TN laboratory which obtained funding from the CARITRO Foundation and the Province. “The synergy between local research bodies and the collaboration between the University of Trento and FBK on silicon photonics, – says Lorenzo Pavesi, one of the managers of Q @ TN, and coordinator for the university in EPIQUS – have made credible the Trentino proposal and are the basis for the success of the project “.


The simulators are devices capable of creating quantum states corresponding to those of complex systems being tested (chemical reactions, prediction of the properties of new materials, complex properties of molecular or atomic systems, biological systems …) and of making them evolve by predicting the results . Currently there are “quantum simulators” able to partially carry out these operations, but they are large in size, operate at temperatures close to absolute zero (-273 ° C), consist of several components that are only partially integrable and cannot be reduced in size, therefore are difficult to scale in power.

The EPIQUS project proposes a paradigm shift: “We want to make everything in a single silicon chip – continues Ghulinyan – of the size of 1cm2 (as much as 1 euro cent), capable of working at room temperature and which contains all the functions inside necessary. Not only that, through an algorithm and a special software that we will develop, the simulator can be connected to a traditional PC from which it will be possible to receive data and give inputs, perform checks on the results and validate the simulations. The ability to do all this at room temperature represents a huge advantage for the portability, interfacing and diffusion of the quantum simulator. ” “We in particular will take care of the source part of the photonic qbits – adds Pavesi – in short it is like in a pinball machine the photons are inserted into the chip and through devices that behave like the blades we control them in order to center the various targets to obtain the maximum possible score ”

The Bruno Kessler Foundation has obtained funding of almost one million euros out of the project’s 3.2 million overall, and will field its expertise in the field of integrated photonics, single photon detectors and large data management.

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