Quantum computing is expected to power the next revolution in science. In the past 50 years, progress in digital computing has powered basically every innovation in human society. Starting from room-sized systems with very basic performance available to only large organizations, every individual now has enormous computing power at his fingertips in his smartphone. After orders of magnitude of scaling, silicon CMOS technology has reached line features of 7nm and below now. Some further scaling is still possible, but several physical limits are in reach. Whereas classical computing systems operate on 'bits', that can have a value of 0 and 1, the next revolution will be enabled by a new computing paradigm, i.e. quantum computing. A quantum computer operates on 'qubit' (quantum bits), that can simultaneously be in both the 0 and 1 state with a certain probability. That enables it to process information in parallel, such that a quantum computer with N qubits can perform similar to a classical computer with 2N bits.
Reality is of course a bit less ideal and more difficult than that, and several hurdles still have to be overcome by research worldwide to realize a practical workable quantum computer. A big issue is that most quantum-mechanical devices that can act as qubits only work when cooled down to temperatures as low as 20 milli-Kelvin. That is colder than outer space. A special dilution refrigerator is used to do that, and complexity is limited by the high amount of connectivity needed with conventional room-temperature electronics to control and readout the qubits. By placing circuitry inside the fridge, close to the qubits, a much higher degree of integration will be possible.
In this thesis, you will collaborate with imec's expert in quantum physics and device technology to investigate these circuits operating at very low temperature. Many different functionalities, such as RF oscillators and amplifiers, sensitive low-noise readout circuits and data converters are required. A careful balance between system requirements, circuit performance and power consumption will be needed. We will study the behavior of semiconductor devices are cryogenic temperatures, and design some of the above-mentioned circuits with them.
Required background: Electrical engineering, analog integrated circuit design
Type of work: 20% literature study, 50% design and simulations, 30% layout
Supervisor: Piet Wambacq, Jan Craninckx
Daily advisor: Jan Craninckx
The reference code for this position is 1812-59. Mention this reference code on your application form.