Menno Veldhorst has been named to MIT Technology Review’s prestigious annual list of Innovators Under 35. Menno Veldhorst has invented a faster path to real-world quantum circuits by making it possible for them to be printed on silicon – the way computer chips have been printed for decades. Prior to Veldhorst’s innovation, it was considered impossible to make usable, semiconductor-based quantum circuits on silicon that would be stable enough to perform useful calculations.
Quantum computers – which are governed by the strange physics of subatomic particles, and allow powerful calculations that no traditional computer is capable of – have instead been built with esoteric materials, including superconductors, that are easier to control in their fragile quantum states. The trade-offs: working with such technology is expensive, and producing such circuitry at scale would require inventing entirely new industrial processes. Menno Veldhorst has solved this by using the most replicated manmade structure on the planet – the transistor. He was able to demonstrate calculations on the basic units of quantum information, known as qubits, in silicon semiconductors.
Collaboration with Intel
Now, based on Veldhorst’s breakthrough, Intel is printing hundreds of thousands of such simple systems on the same type of wafers the company uses to make its conventional chips. This means collaborators at Intel can increasingly spend their time on the microelectronics and algorithms necessary for complete quantum computers rather than working through basic physics. What’s most exciting to Veldhorst is that – just like with the birth of the transistor and the computer age – a flood of quantum computers will need to be built and put into the hands of researchers for science to really know what they are capable of. Veldhorst’s research has allowed just that.
MIT Technology Review
Founded at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT Technology Review has been writing about technology since 1899. Now a global media company, Technology Review publishes a yearly list of 35 outstanding innovators under 35. Learn more about this year’s honorees on the MIT Technology Review website.