IBM Builds World’s Biggest, Coldest Fridge for Quantum

Project Goldeneye cryogenic system will enable the next generation of quantum computers
Berenice Baker

September 14, 2022

A member of IBM's Goldeneye research team adjusts the bottom of the "superfridge".Connie Zhou for IBM

IBM has successfully cooled its proof-of-concept refrigerator for quantum experiments to a temperature colder than outer space and wired a quantum processor inside.

Known by the code name Project Goldeneye, the cryostat is a dilution refrigerator, which has no moving parts but is instead powered by mixing helium isotopes.

Current cold-temperature quantum processors already use dilution refrigerators but are limited by their size, number of input/output ports and cooling power.

The super-fridge provides 1.7 cubic meters of experimental volume, around three times that of a domestic refrigerator, and operates at 25 millikelvins (around -460F). This temperature is needed to carry out quantum physics experiments and potentially run large quantum processors.

IBM said in a blog that Goldeneye is not slated for use with any current or planned IBM quantum processors, but it lays the groundwork for the quantum industry’s ability to scale to larger experiments.

The cryostat features a clamshell design,

giving operators easy access to the hardware inside without having to dismantle it, and an open-source visualization platform to monitor experiments remotely.

Fitting Goldeneye with a quantum processor enabled IBM to demonstrate measuring qubit frequencies and coherence times – how long they can retain quantum information – as would occur during a quantum experiment.

IBM now plans to move Goldeneye to its Quantum Computation Center in Poughkeepsie, New York, for further experiments that could lead to cooling systems for future quantum computing data centers.

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