Archer Materials Ltd (ASX:AXE) (OTCMKTS:ARRXF) (FRA:38A) enjoyed a productive second half of 2020, progressing the development of its 12CQ® quantum computing qubit processor chip and A1 Biochip™ lab-on-a-chip technology.
The company also advanced patents and international patent applications (IPAs) associated with the 12CQ chip as well as establishing commercial partnerships.
Looking forward to 2021, the company will also continue to explore opportunities for the sale and divestment of its historical mineral exploration tenements, which will allow it to focus on technological developments.
The 12CQ chip is a world-first technology that Archer is building for quantum computing operation at room-temperature and integration onboard modern electronic devices.
Rapid progress was made during the half-year with the technological development of the 12CQ chip to meet significant milestones required for the early-stage validation of the successful operation and commercialisation of the semiconductor chip device.
The first major technological milestone in the operation of its 12CQ chip is related to ‘qubit control’, with the successful completion of the control measurements expected to be major validation of the commercial viability of the 12CQ chip.
Archer has now built several qubit control devices (QC Devices) required for 12CQ chip development and has engineered and commenced operating the infrastructure and specialised equipment required to perform qubit control using various QC Device configurations.
It has completed the preliminary stages of its quantum measurements towards qubit control by successfully characterising optimised and unoptimised QC Devices.The qubit control measurements are ongoing and are being performed in parallel to other technology development work packages which during the half-year have included theoretical modelling of the qubit system.
Computational quantum mechanical theory
During the half-year, the company announced for the first-time computational quantum mechanical theory was developed that accurately models the behaviour of the qubit material at the core of the 12CQ chip.
Computational models validate the origins of experimentally observed quantum phenomena in the qubit material and allow the company to predict future quantum behaviour.
The quantum information (qubit) in Archer’s chip design is in the form of an electron’s quantum property of ‘spin’, so it is critical to have developed accurate models predicting the electronic properties of the qubit material for the successful development of the 12CQ chip.
The state-of-the-art setup where the first quantum control measurements are being performed on Archer’s 12CQ qubit material.
A1 Biochip™ developed in-house
Archer also made a step-change in advancing its graphene-based biosensor technology development to newly commence its lab-on-a-chip A1 Biochip™ development.
This was possible in a short period of time as the company brought its biotechnology development in-house and is now able to miniaturise its biosensing processes to chip-formats while retaining its IP.
With this process, the company no longer requires prototyping sensor materials, graphene inks, graphite, 2D/3D printing, or circuit boards (manufactured in Asia).
Biochip development will involve designing these components for further miniaturisation (micron to nanoscale) and are intended to incorporate graphene materials, both aspects which are required to validate commercial advantages of ultra-sensitivity and device integration.
Additionally, the A1 Biochip™ related patent application is progressing in the International Phase in the patent granting procedure -the first of two main phases.
During the half-year, Archer continued to establish and strengthen its commercial partnerships, including contributing to the global IBM Q Network, that it joined in May 2020.
The IBM Q Network is a community of Fortune 500 companies, academic institutions, start-ups and national research labs working with IBM to advance quantum computing.
Archer held a joint webinar with IBM in August discussing the development of quantum computing and its applications to an audience of more than 320 attendees.
The company was also invited to the panel of speakers of an event held by the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), which is Australia's peak representative body for the technology industry.
In December, the company announced that it had entered into a collaboration with a leading Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning company, Max Kelsen.
Archer and Max Kelsen will use IBM’s Qiskit open source programming framework and cloud-based quantum computers to implement novel quantum algorithms developed that validate practical quantum computing applications relevant to the 12CQ chip technology.
This will centre around real uses that would benefit from quantum processors onboard technology at room temperature, such as quantum artificial neural networks.
In January, the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer had published a comprehensive independent report: Australian Semiconductor Sector Study: Capabilities, opportunities and challenges for NSW’s meaningful participation in the global semiconductor value-chain (scoping study).
The company contributed to the development of the scoping study, which identified the largest areas of opportunity for the scale-up of companies (such as Archer) in the global semiconductor industry.
These areas include enhancing domestic capability in semiconductor design, fabrication and prototyping as it relates to the commercial translation of advanced materials and quantum computing technology.
On January 20, the company announced the granting of a Japanese patent associated with its 12CQ chip technology, which gives Archer access to the high-value Japanese market for the 12CQ chip - the first step in its efforts to access global markets.
Additionally, on February 22, Archer announced it had achieved electronic transport in a single qubit at room temperature, which is fundamental to the successful development of the 12CQ chip.