C12, the French quantum computing startup based by two twin brothers, raises $19.4 million

C12 is asserting that IT not too long ago raised an €18 million funding spherical ($19.4 million at right now’s change price). Initially based in 2020 as a spin-off from the Physics Laboratory of the École Normale Supérieure, the corporate has been engaged on a novel course of to create quantum computer systems primarily based on carbon nanotubes.

Whereas the idea of quantum computing isn’t new, IT continues to be very a lot a piece in progress. Many scientific groups have been approaching this matter from totally different angles. The aim is to create a quantum laptop at scale and that may execute calculations with a low quantity of errors.

However wait, why do we want quantum computer systems within the first place? Computer systems as they exist right now are solely primarily based on digital transistors. And we’ve change into actually good at making transistors smaller so we are able to pack extra transistors in a single chip. Because of this, computing energy has progressed at an exponential tempo over the previous 60 years.

And but, the present laptop structure has its limits. Even when corporations begin constructing larger knowledge facilities, some issues merely can’t be solved with conventional computer systems. IT can be unclear whether or not Moore’s law will stay legitimate within the years to come back.

That is the place quantum computer systems might show helpful.

“If we wish to create a mannequin — an exhaustive simulation of a chemical response — to understand how new medication are going to work together with our cells, that’s not doable with a standard strategy,” C12 co-founder and CEO Pierre Desjardins (pictured proper) advised TechCrunch.

“There are an entire host of optimization issues to be solved, whether or not in transport, logistics or manufacturing. They’re unimaginable to run on a standard laptop as a result of there will probably be too many variables, too many doable situations,” he continued.

Matthieu Desjardins, his brother, has a PhD in quantum physics and acts because the CTO of the corporate. Sooner or later in our dialog, Pierre Desjardins even referred to as his brother a “scientific genius.”

And since IT’s 2024, there’s even an AI angle that ought to persuade you that quantum computing analysis is necessary. “At this time, coaching a big language mannequin additionally means consuming an unlimited quantity of power,” Pierre Desjardins mentioned. “And quantum can be a computing methodology that makes use of a lot much less power.”

Find out how to construct a quantum laptop

C12’s two key variations with the opposite groups engaged on quantum computer systems are that IT makes use of a unique materials — carbon nanotubes — and IT has a particular manufacturing course of — a nano-assembly course of that’s now patented.

“At this time, I feel we’re the one ones on the planet to manage this very particular course of, which includes placing a carbon nanotube on high of a silicon chip. And what’s completely fascinating is the dimensions. The diameter of a carbon nanotube is 10,000 occasions smaller than a human hair,” Pierre Desjardins mentioned.

Picture Credit: C12

Analysis groups working for giant corporations like Google, IBM or Amazon are presently specializing in a unique course of. Most of them are utilizing superconducting supplies, reminiscent of aluminum, on high of a silicon substrate.

In response to C12, whereas this methodology has led to early breakthroughs. Nevertheless, utilizing aluminum isn’t going to work at scale on account of interferences as you begin including extra qubits. Whereas quantum isn’t mature but, C12 believes IT is engaged on next-generation quantum computing in comparison with these aluminum-based processes.

The corporate has arrange its first manufacturing line in a basement close to the Pantheon in Paris. On this facility, they manufacture carbon nanotubes, management these tubes after which combine them with the silicon substrate.

IT’s now up and working. At this time, we produce about one chip per week, which we then check in our mini knowledge middle,” Pierre Desjardins mentioned. However don’t count on to see a quantum laptop simply but. “We’re nonetheless actually simply validating elementary parts,” he added. The corporate is specializing in chips with one or two qubits for the second.

Emulating quantum

As analysis and improvement work progresses, the C12 staff can be engaged on its enterprise ecosystem. Like many quantum corporations, C12 has created an emulator referred to as Callisto. Emulators let builders write and run some quantum code on a classical laptop.

They’re not going to get the outcomes they’d get with a quantum laptop, however at the very least they are going to be able to hit the bottom working when quantum computer systems can be found.

“We’re presently specializing in two verticals, the chemical trade and the power trade. The chemical trade makes use of IT to simulate chemical reactions and the power trade makes use of IT primarily for optimization issues,” Pierre Desjardins mentioned. Specifically, the startup has a partnership with Air Liquide.

Picture Credit: C12

And if we return to the funding spherical, Varsity Capital, EIC Fund and Verve Ventures are investing on this newly introduced funding spherical. Current traders 360 Capital, Bpifrance’s Digital Enterprise fund and BNP Paribas Développement are taking part as soon as once more on this spherical.

There are 45 folks from 18 totally different nationalities working for C12 right now, together with 22 PhDs. With the not too long ago raised capital, C12 plans to signal extra partnerships with industrial companions. However the firm additionally has a analysis aim.

“The opposite aim is to hold out, for the primary time, a quantum operation between two qubits which are situated at a protracted distance from one another,” Pierre Desjardins mentioned. By lengthy distance, he means “tens of micrometers” from one another. IT doesn’t look like a lot, however IT will probably be key when IT involves scaling quantum computing.

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