QCE20 Workshop on
Engineering Trapped Ion Quantum Computers



  • Patty Lee, Honeywell Quantum Solutions Honeywell International Inc Broomfield, Colorado (Lead)
  • Thomas Markham, Honeywell Quantum Solutions Honeywell International Inc Broomfield, Colorado
  • Michael Belt, Honeywell Quantum Solutions Honeywell International Inc Broomfield, Colorado
  • Sheryl Genco, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Boulder, Colorado
  • Christian Lytle, Honeywell Quantum Solutions Honeywell International Inc Broomfield, Colorado
  • Brian Mathewson, Honeywell Quantum Solutions Honeywell International Inc Broomfield, Colorado


Trapped ion quantum computers have transitioned from research laboratories to commercial settings over the past few years. Such systems provide long coherence times and the potential for deeper circuits relative to competing technologies. Progress within this sphere required a multidisciplinary effort across many technological fields, leading to major engineering innovations and scientific discoveries.

The goal of this workshop is to provide a forum for trapped ion quantum computing researchers and engineers from academia, government, and industry to discuss recent technological developments, current engineering challenges, and potential pathways for advancement and scaling. We invite experts and practitioners to present different visions and approaches. Technology providers are invited to address how they can support the trapped ion quantum computing community and unveil plans to aid future developments. All participants are encouraged to propose collaborative efforts to advance the field. Topics may include system architecture, implementation methods, trap fabrication, control electronics, lasers and optical systems, integrated photonics, and cryogenic and ultra-high vacuum systems.

The workshop will provide three 90 minutes sessions followed by a poster session dedicated to trapped ion quantum computing.

Call for Posters Special — Workshop Session on Trapped Ions

The workshop will include a poster session in the evening to increase participation from the trapped ion community and relevant industry groups. This poster session will provide opportunities for dialogue between different groups and foster collaboration. Please follow the conference guidelines for posters The poster submission deadline has been extended for this workshop. Submit your poster proposal via QCE20 EasyChair and make sure you select the track “Workshop on Engineering Trapped Ion Quantum Computers” to be included in this workshop poster session.

Workshop Agenda

The workshop will consist of three 90-minute sessions focused on ion trap development, control systems & signal fidelity, and scaling challenges of ion trap quantum computers. Each section will consist of presentations by experts in the field followed by interactive discussions. The interactive discussion will address questions from the audience as well as prepared questions from the workshop team. The sections and presenters are outlined below.

10:30 am

Workshop Overview
Tom Markham (Honeywell)
As session chair, Honeywell will provide an introduction and set the stage for the discussion. This introduction will lay out the motivation and goals for the workshop. At this time Honeywell will also briefly go over agenda and speakers.

10:35 am

Ion Trap Systems and Technologies Session
Patty Lee (Honeywell)
Trapped ion quantum computing hardware are now available for users to access through companies and research institutions. In this section trapped ion researchers and quantum computer providers will discuss recent developments on their systems and the engineering challenges going forward.

10:40 am

Ion Trap Systems: From the Lab to Users
Chris Monroe (IonQ and University of Maryland)
Unlike all other quantum computer technology platforms, trapped ions have already moved from physics to engineering and deployment. This is because its qubits are perfectly replicable atomic clocks that have no idle memory errors and no qubit wires, thus allowing scalability. The execution of entangling quantum gates through optical or microwave fields leads to a flexible and reconfigurable quantum circuit graph offering many opportunities for co-design of applications with the hardware. The challenge to scaling up trapped ion quantum computers is more about engineering than breakthroughs, including advances in monolithic trap structures on a chip to integrated optical/microwave design. This allows us to concentrate on higher level considerations in the quantum computer stack, from control optimization, compilers, and algorithmic applications. I will summarize the state of the art trapped ion quantum computing systems at IonQ and the University of Maryland.

11:05 am

Technologies for a Versatile Trapped Ion Quantum Simulator
Crystal Senko (University of Waterloo)
We describe the system design for an open access quantum computing facility under development at Waterloo. We discuss novel optical techniques for spatial addressing and an agile multi-tone RF synthesis design for entangling gates. We touch on novel quantum techniques such as methods to create 2d spin interaction graphs in 1d ion chains and to exploit multi-level information encodings for qudit-based computation.

11:30 am

High Fidelity Background Free State Detection of the 171Yb+ Qubit
Conrad Roman (UCLA)
We demonstrate high fidelity state preparation and measurement of the 171Yb+ hyperfine qubit by performing narrow band optical pumping of one qubit state to the effectively stable 2Fo7/2 state. This electron shelving scheme removes off-resonant coupling concerns during state readout, the main source of measurement error in nuclear spin ½ based qubits. Once shelved, we show that pulsed excitation of the remaining ground state population can produce background free ion fluorescence for high fidelity readout in the presence of large amounts of excess laser scatter.

11:55 am

Session Wrap Up


Lunch Break

1:30 pm

Control Systems and Signal Fidelity Session
Brian Mathewson, Tony Ransford (Honeywell)
Quantum control systems are at the heart of any ion trap quantum control system. Quantum computers require an entire symphony of tightly controlled optics, measurement devices, and other electronics acting in unison to facilitate their operation. It is critical that the control systems provide a flexible and expandable platform with low noise high precision analog & digital interfaces, layers of software, and meaningful user interfaces. This session will discuss some of the technology and techniques to meet the needs of quantum computers of today and tomorrow.

1:35 pm

FPGA-Based Electronics for Trapped Ion Quantum Control
Clayton Crocker (Keysight)
Quantum experiments on trapped atomic ions have demonstrated excellent coherence times and high fidelity gate operations. This makes the platform well-suited for the engineering of quantum computing devices and also presents a set of challenges to the classical electronics that control these systems. Today, many trapped ion researchers are using FPGAs to address some of the timing and synchronization challenges that they face. In this talk we will discuss how a deeper integration between the control electronics and FPGAs can enable more digital signal processing on hardware to resolve additional issues in sequence generation and signal coherence.

2:00 pm

Fast, Flexible and Highly Integrated Control Systems for the Rapidly Evolving World of Quantum Computing
Chetan Khona  (Xilinx)
Quantum computer designs are evolving rapidly requiring researchers and developers to synthesize and evaluate complex controls. Xilinx will discuss how programmable SoCs, the latest tool flows, and off-the-shelf IP solutions can support flexible and expandable acceleration of algorithms, ADC, DAC, and RF functions.

2:25 pm

Analog Devices for Low Noise Control of Quantum Computers
Miguel Usach (Analog Devices)
Controlling and measuring ions within a trap requires precise, low-noise signals to achieve system fidelity targets. Analog Devices will provide practical information for integrating low-noise amplifiers, ADCs and DACs into the control system.

2:50 pm

Session Wrap Up

3:00 pm


3:30 pm

Scalable Technologies Session
David Hayes (Honeywell)
This section discusses some of the technologies that will provide a path towards quantum computers with hundreds and thousands of fully connected qubits. Leading experts will present an overview of current approaches and the challenges and potential paths forward to scale quantum computers. After each session the presenters will engage the attendees in collaborative discussions to improve the community’s understanding and find solutions to the pressing challenges they face.

3:35 pm

Integrated Technologies for Trapped-Ion Quantum Information Processing
Jeremy Sage (MIT – Lincoln Laboratory)
Quantum control of trapped-ion systems relies on the delivery of laser light and electrical signals to and from the individual ions. Such control is typically implemented via free-space optics and electronics that are remote from the ion trap vacuum system. This traditional approach has led to high-fidelity control of small numbers of ions but presents challenges to controlling significantly larger systems with comparable or improved fidelity. MIT Lincoln Laboratory is developing technology to integrate the delivery of light via photonic integrated circuits (PICs) and electronics via CMOS integrated circuits into chip-scale ion traps in order to address these challenges.

4:00 pm

Scaling of Fault-Tolerant Trapped-Ion Quantum Information Processors Beyond NISQ
Dietrich Leibfried (Ion Storage Group NIST)
A large scale beyond NISQ quantum information processor will probably require millions of physical qubits. While it is a fool’s errand to predict all details, extrapolation from what we know today can provide some useful insights on where the biggest challenges lie. This talk will discuss one particular approach and its physics and engineering challenges in broad strokes.

4:25 pm

The 133Ba+ Ion Platform
Dave Hucul (US Air Force Research Lab)

4:50 pm

Closing Remarks

5:00 pm


6:00–8:00 pm

Poster Session – Special topic on Engineering Trapped Ion Quantum Computers


Frequently Asked Questions

Please send questions regarding the workshop to: Quantum.Engineering@Honeywell.com