SureCore announces low power cryogenic memory technology for quantum computing — operates at temperatures as low as 4 Kelvin

(Image credit: Google)

SureCore announced its new SRAM modules for quantum computing SoCs that can function at cryogenic temperatures as low as 4 Kelvin (-269°C). The innovation comes as a major breakthrough for cooling and downsizing quantum computer data centers.

SureCore CEO Paul Wells said, "Data centres have a heat problem and we can potentially provide a solution." Wells elaborated, "As part of an InnovateUK funded project, we have worked closely with our partner Semiwise who have developed cryogenic transistor SPICE models. These have enabled us to port and tune our low power memory technology to work at temperatures down to 4K."

SureCore has been working on its cryogenic-friendly SRAM along with Semiwise and many other companies and research teams as part of a joint project by InnovateUK, the UK's government research agency. IUK's goal is to make cooling quantum data centers cheaper and more scalable, a prospect made difficult by how large-scale quantum computers currently operate.

Quantum computers, which use "qubits" rather than traditional bits, need near-absolute zero temperatures on their qubits for them to function most efficiently and correctly. At present, the qubits are kept in cryogenic cooling while the rest of the motherboard (controllers, RAM, etc.) are connected via expensive cabling from outside the cryostat. Most modern semiconductor technology is only rated to function at or above -40°C, necessitating a separated computer with its brain in a jar in another room.

SureCore's success could allow for new low-power and super-cold SRAM to potentially live with the qubits in a cryostat, reducing cooling costs and saving space.

Wells explained, "The goal was not only to develop memory for cryogenic operation, but also to exploit our power saving techniques so as to minimise the thermal load in the cryostat. For a datacentre operating at 77K [the temperature of liquid nitrogen], similar challenges apply and, by saving up to 50% of the memory power, a significant cut in thermal dissipation is possible with knock-on effects for the cooling power budget."

If your head is spinning with talk of qubits and quantum, give our quantum computers explainer a read. While quantum computing may yet prove to be the future, today it is still largely theoretical. Even IBM's own recent quantum computing experiments have been outperformed by a 1980s era Commodore 64.

Dallin Grimm
Contributing Writer

Dallin Grimm is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware. He has been building and breaking computers since 2017, serving as the resident youngster at Tom's. From APUs to RGB, Dallin has a handle on all the latest tech news. 

  • Metal Messiah.
    This isn't an entirely new report/breakthrough. They reported on this development last year as well, so it's kind of old news.

    It is based on the already funded project dubbed “Development of CryoCMOS to Enable the Next Generation of Scalable Quantum Computers”.

    There was a tape out before of the company's first cryogenic IP demonstrator chip, which they used to build cryogenic interface chips that could monitor qubits at cryogenic temperatures, basically to show it's potential.

    The project still aims to develop a suite of foundation IP that can be licenced to designers allowing them to create their own Cryo-CMOS SoC solutions, and making it easy to adopt the industry standard RTL to GDSII physical design flow.

    Also, it's important to mention the consortium member Universal Quantum (UQ) here.

    That's partly because UQ’s modular ion-trap-based QC hardware architecture is also directly going to benefit from the cryogenic IP developed by this project (despite their architecture not needing sub-4K temperature values as some may claim).
  • Metal Messiah.
    Also, InnovateUK has been a bit slow on this project as well, though I can understand it can be difficult given how large-scale quantum computers currently operate, and to measure, understand and model any given behavioural change.
  • TechyIT223
    ""Quantum computers can get chillier for cheaper.""
    Nah... They might get chiller, more efficient , faster and powerful, but not cheaper for sure. That's a far cry for now.
  • Metal Messiah.
    Well, where there's a will there is a way ! :grinning:
  • TechyIT223
    Yeah. Of course .

    Also I guess more work needs to be done right now to make custom cryo CMOS solutions a reality. Not sure about lnnovateUK as to how involved they are right now, but other projects might be definitely in the works as well.