Technology developer Silex Systems has successfully completed the first stage of a three-year project to develop production systems to make zero-spin silicon (ZS-Si) for use in silicon quantum computing chips.
Silex has demonstrated the production of 99.95 per cent isotopic purity material at the laboratory scale using the company’s Silex laser isotope separation technology.
The separation technology, originally developed for the nuclear industry, is being further developed by the company in partnership with University of New South Wales and Silicon Quantum Computing Pty Ltd.
ZS-Si will be required for the fabrication of next-generation processor chips for quantum computers.
Quantum computers store information at the sub-atomic level, enabling the next phase of micro-minaturisation of computing devices.
Silex CEO Dr Michael Goldsworthy said the results achieved in reaching this first milestone had exceeded expectations.
Goldsworthy said: “Not only has proof of concept been verified for the…process and stage one completed, but the team has already managed to achieve commercially valuable isotopic purity.
“If this process can be successfully scaled up…then we will be well on our way to potentially establishing a new business segment for Silex.”
Goldsworthy said a pilot production facility was planned for 2022 to produce initial commercial quantities of ZS-Si.
The next stage of the project involves the design, construction and operation of scaled-up prototype equipment to validate the process.
The first batches of ZS-Si will be purchased by SQC under an offtake agreement which involves three annual payments to Silex of $300,000 each.
The project is also supported by a federal government grant.