Since the presentation of Emmanuel Macron’s plan in January last year to make France the world leader in quantum technology, with a 1.8 billion euro envelope to make investments that will be spread over 5 years, the flare has moved a notch up in the French quantum computer ecosystem. Latest example to date with the start-up Quandela, a quantum photonics specialist who has just completed a € 15 million funding round with the Omnes Foundation, the Defense Innovation Fund managed by Bpifrance and designed by the Agence de defense innovation (AID), and the specialty fund in quantum technologies Quantonation, which made an initial closure of 20 million euros at the beginning of the year.
Founded in 2017 by Pascale Senellart (Research Director at CNRS and the Paris-Saclay University Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies Center and 2014 CNRS Silver Medal winner), Valérian Giesz (Engineer and Physician in Quantum Optics) and Niccolo Somaschi (Ph.D. in Semiconductor Nanotechnology), the company has developed Prometheus, a photonic qubit generator with a wide range of applications, including quantum cryptography, quantum computers or quantum sensors. This technology served as the basis for developing an entanglement system from a chain of individual photons contained in a fiber optic loop. Quandela thus offers companies and research centers various components (eDelight, 6-DMX, QShaper, QFiber, etc.) that are necessary to create a quantum computer prototype based on a high flux of individual photons.
Building on its advances in the sector, the company is preparing to make the first complete photonic quantum computer available and open its access to an online platform from 2022 to promote broad access to research and its computer resources. “In just a few years, Quandela has established itself as a key player in the development of the photonic quantum computer. We are collaborating with several European universities within the framework of the European Photonic Quantum Sampling Machine (Phoqusing) project, which was launched in September 2020. We also sell our components to companies and research centers around the world: Italy, Australia, Austria, Holland- Low … This fundraising will allow us to accelerate the structuring of the team and the investment of new equipment to achieve our goal with a first step: the availability in the cloud of the first complete optical quantum computer in 2022says Valérian Giesz, co-founder and CEO of Quandela.
“Make France a major player in this sector of the future”
The company is thus positioned as one of the French quantum flagships along with other players such as Pasqal, a spin-off from the Palaiseau Optics Institute, which is developing a quantum simulator capable of manipulating up to 100 fine qubits. 2021. “This investment marks the collective ambition to participate in the development of quantum technologies to make France a major player in this future sector.», Assesses Nicolas Berdou, investor at Bpifrance. It is actually a large and complex universe that should make it possible to achieve an unprecedented computing power. And with good reason, the basic building block of this technology is not based on bits, but on qubits (quantum bits).
Unlike bits in classic computers, which can only be in two states, 0 or 1, qubits can be in more than one state at a time. Therefore, with this overlay of modes, it is possible to perform multiple calculations at the same time and thus arrive at algorithms that are capable of solving the most complex problems. Ultimately, the goal is to create the universal quantum computer that could process gigantic masses of data and perform operations that go far beyond our imagination. This technology would be particularly useful in the context of a health crisis such as the Covid-19 epidemic, with the development of vaccines and medicines, which would be much faster than at present.
Also read: France’s quantum ambitions
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Quandela: the most important facts
Founders: Pascale Senellart, Valerian Giesz and Niccolo Somaschi
Head office: Paris Saclay
Sector: Quantum calculation
Activity: quantum photonics
Financing: 15 million euros in November 2021 …