The Netherlands government has awarded €615 million to Quantum Delta NL to accelerate the advancement of the quantum ecosystem and technology in the country.
The Netherlands government has awarded €615 million to national body Quantum Delta NL to accelerate the advancement of the quantum ecosystem and technology in the country.
Quantum Delta NL is a public-private foundation launched in 2020 with the mandate to coordinate and execute the Netherland’s national agenda for quantum technology (NAQT). There are five hubs within its network, at Delft, Amsterdam, Leiden, Eindhoven, and Twente. Each hub consists of research institutes, universities, companies, and startups. The funding, which is from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, will be used to train 2,000 researchers and engineers, to scale 100 startups and to host three corporate R&D labs in the Netherlands by 2027.
The capital has been awarded by the National Growth Fund, an investment fund created by the cabinet of the Netherlands to boost economic growth and maintain prosperity for the foreseeable future. Speaking about the funding, Ronald Hanson, chairman of the supervisory board for Quantum Delta NL, said, “There is no doubt that quantum technologies will have a profound impact on the world, transforming information and communication technology systems to deliver benefits for all of society. This investment in Quantum Delta NL’s ambitious program signifies the Netherlands’ long-term commitment to advancing the technology.”
The founding director of Quantum Delta NL, Freeke Heijman, added, “An ecosystem approach was activated where the academic, public, private and government sectors work symbiotically to drive the initiative forward. While the Netherlands has already matured from strategy to the execution phase of the NAQT, this critical funding is needed to scale the ecosystem in all its facets: people, facilities and capital.”
The state secretary of economic affairs and climate policy, Mona Keijzer, said, “Innovation aimed at digitization, sustainability and health has immediately been given a prominent place at the start of the National Growth Fund. This is good for all Dutch people. After all, research and development is the key to sustainable growth and therefore to our jobs and income in the future. The government must also actively provide large-scale public funding to further develop research, innovation and technology, to allow startups to grow, to attract talent, to keep innovation in the Netherlands and thus to strengthen our international position. I see great opportunities for the collaborating companies, knowledge institutions and governments involved in this, such as at Quantum Delta NL, to start capitalizing on these challenges.”
A consortium of leading professors, scientists, industry stakeholders, and 80 organizations collaborated in drafting the pitch for the €615 million bid. The budget will help rapidly scale the national agenda’s multi-year program, which is organized around four pillars: R&D, talent development, market creation, and societal impact. With this funding, the quantum industry in the Netherlands projects it will create 30,000 high-tech jobs and have a cumulative economic impact of €5 to 7 billion. According to a recent Boston Consulting Group report, the market for quantum could grow to around $300 billion worldwide by 2050.
Quantum Delta NL is focused on supporting the complete ecosystem by providing companies with the infrastructure necessary to build quantum computers. The geography of the Netherlands works as an advantage: All major clusters are within a one-hour drive from each other and function as a single, interconnected ecosystem.
Semiconductor qubits scale in two dimensions
According to the official announcement, Quantum Delta NL said the funding provides the Netherlands with an opportunity to convert its lead in quantum technology into sustainable earning power for the benefit of Europe as a whole. The Netherlands has a long track record of innovation in quantum technology and plays a leading role in building a world-class European quantum ecosystem.
For example, Dutch researchers lead the development of semiconductor and germanium quantum processors, the use of entanglement for a quantum Internet, and the launch of the first European quantum computer in the cloud (Quantum Inspire). This was developed by QuTech, which is part of the Delft hub of Quantum Delta NL.
The researchers at QuTech have addressed two of the challenges to building a fully functioning quantum computer consisting of roughly a million Qubits: scalability and quantum decoherence. A recent paper, published in Nature, demonstrates a four-qubit quantum processor based on hole spins in germanium quantum dots. Furthermore, it defines the quantum dots in a two-by-two array and obtains controllable coupling along both directions. Qubit logic is implemented all-electrically and the exchange interaction can be pulsed to freely program one-qubit, two-qubit, three-qubit and four-qubit operations, resulting in a compact and highly connected circuit.
Quantum dot qubits, the company said, hold the promise to be a scalable approach as they can be defined using standard semiconductor manufacturing techniques. QuTech’s Menno Veldhorst commented, “By putting four such qubits in a two-by-two grid, demonstrating universal control over all qubits, and operating a quantum circuit that entangles all qubits, we have made an important step forward in realizing a scalable approach for quantum computation.”
This approach means the same electrodes needed to define the qubits could also be used to control and entangle them. “No large additional structures have to be added next to each qubit such that our qubits are almost identical to the transistors in a computer chip,” said Nico Hendrickx, graduate student in Menno Veldhorst’s group and an author of the article. “Furthermore, we have obtained excellent control and can couple qubits at will, allowing us to program one, two, three, and four-qubit gates, promising highly compact quantum circuits.”