BLINQ:  Covesion takes the lead in commercialising quantum technology

Covesion Ltd are delighted to be announced as the lead company for the Blue Laser Integration with Networked Quantum-Memories (BLINQ) project. Funded by Innovate UK and working in collaboration with project partners ORCA Computing and The University of Southampton, the BLINQ project aims to develop components and hardware for quantum computing that will enable transformational computers for solving currently intractable problems.

“One of the biggest challenges currently in photonic quantum computing is how to scale systems based on existing single photon sources.” says Greg Blanchard-Emmerson, Chief Product Officer at Covesion. “Single photons are natural carriers of quantum information. They are robust with respect to thermal noise, can be used at room-temperature and sent over optical fibre networks. This makes them particularly suitable for generation, manipulation, and long-range transport of entanglement. However existing sources of single photons do not generate a steady stream of high-quality, predictable photons on demand. This means photonic quantum computers are built with large amounts of redundancy, repeating many copies of the underlying components over and over in the hope that at least some portion of the operation is successful. This approach is not efficient or easily scalable.

The key objective of the BLINQ project is to develop commercially-scalable optical components for generation of narrowband paired single photons — these will be integrated with quantum memories, providing a technology basis for a new class of quantum computing processor.” concludes Greg.

Project partners, ORCA Computing have developed a new approach to quantum computing based on a proprietary photonic quantum memory; a means of storing and retrieving successful quantum states on demand. This approach reduces the cost, footprint, and energy use of quantum operations and is designed to be scalable using mature telecoms components; however it still requires a compatible source of single photons that are tailored to interact with the memory.

Covesion will be responsible for the manufacture of the PPLN nonlinear optical crystals for the project, a photonics technology used to convert standard telecoms lasers to single photons for use with quantum systems. Using cutting-edge fabrication techniques recently developed at the University of Southampton, Covesion aims to develop a new class of spectrally-tailored nonlinear crystals designed to operate, integrate, and commercially scale with ORCA’s innovative quantum memory platform.

Mike Day, CEO of Covesion comments, “This collaboration between Covesion, ORCA and the University of Southampton brings together a diverse mix of commercial, technical and academic specialists in the quantum field. Quantum computing is a incredibly exciting area as a technology for the future and the potential applications are huge. The team here at Covesion are very excited to be playing our part in researching and developing tools to help open the door to this exciting new sector.”

The BLINQ project began in October 2021 and will run over a 12-month timeframe.