Finland makes advances in quantum computing

Quantum computers Finland

Finland is on its way to fulfilling its promise of becoming a global leader in quantum computing with innovations and projects that are billed to push quantum computing from laboratories to real-world settings.How to increase collaboration?, Cracking the Code of Sustained Collaboration, AMER EXPERIENCE

Physicists from Aalto University and the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland in October introduced the global scientific community to a diminutive device capable of measuring energy quanta at unprecedented resolution in an article published in one of the most prestigious journals in the world, Nature.

According to Mikko Möttönen, extreme accuracy, combined with fast operation, make the device interesting for the development of quantum technology.

The authors demonstrated that the thermal radiation detector, or bolometer, is theoretically accurate enough to detect individual microwave photons at astonishing speeds – roughly a hundred times faster than its predecessors.

The breakthrough has the potential to expedite the development of quantum computers, given that measuring the energy of qubits is a core element of the operation of quantum computers.

Mikko Möttönen, a research professor at VTT, explained in a blog post that the combination of unprecedented speed and accuracy could make it possible to use the detector for reading the memory of a superconducting quantum computer or the signals of a quantum radar.

The groundwork for the innovation was laid about a decade ago. The key steps on the way, he told, included switching from metal to atom-thin graphene in a bid to enable the detection of even smaller quantities of energy and – in a move against conventional wisdom – trying to heat the bolometer along the wire intended for reading it.

Although significant, the breakthrough must be backed with further investments and, first and foremost, open collaboration and knowledge-sharing in the budding quantum ecosystem, stressed Möttönen.

Readiness for future pandemics
The Finnish government has recognised the field’s importance, having already allocated funds for building the foundation for a quantum ecosystem and acquiring the first quantum computer in Finland.

The acquisition plan was announced in May by VTT. Antti Vasara, the CEO of VTT, reminded that advances in quantum computing should enable societies to overcome challenges impossible for contemporary supercomputers, including pandemics similar to COVID-19.

“The quantum computers of the future will be able to accurately model viruses and pharmaceuticals or design new materials in a way that is impossible with traditional methods,” he proclaimed.

IQM Finland unveiled its quantum computer design in conjunction with a cash injection of around 20 million euros.


The current circumstances make investments in quantum computing and other emerging technologies all the more important, as they enable societies to recover quicker from the economic crisis set off by the pandemic, added Vasara.

Work on quantum computing is underway also in the private sector. IQM Finland in June revealed it has received over 20 million euros for commercialising of its quantum hardware through co-design and growing what is already the largest industrial quantum hardware team in Europe – at a pace of one engineer per week.

Around three-quarters of the total was received from equity investors and the rest from Business Finland and the EIC Accelerator, formerly known as the SME Instrument.
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