Archer Exploration Limited (ASX:AXE) has entered into exclusive negotiations with The University of Sydney Commercial Development and Industry Partnerships (CDIP) for exclusive rights to develop and commercialise, possibly one of the most important technological breakthroughs in quantum computing technology to date.
Though in the very early stages of development, quantum computers are extremely powerful and have the potential to solve complex calculations. Quantum computing technology could revolutionise multiple sectors including pharmaceuticals, energy, transport, finance and security, with an estimated market size of $5bn, expected to grow exponentially over the next decade.
One of the main barriers to the introduction of quantum computers in our everyday lives is that they currently operate at extremely low temperatures, below zero, to work effectively, and also need to be made of conducting components in order to integrate into electronic circuitry. Quantum computers use qubits, as opposed to binary bits (0s and 1s) to hold quantum information. Qubits can be stored in materials that are nanometres in size, making information retention very delicate to changes in the environment including molecule scale vibrations caused by heat.
Dr Mohammad Choucair is believed to have solved the materials dichotomy of operating qubits at room temperature in a conducting material through findings of a collaborative research project he co-led involving the University of Sydney (University) and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) while employed at the University. Dr Choucair was also the first person in the world to directly synthesise graphene and has spent the last decade developing graphene and carbon-based nanotechnology. These materials have been produced simply using common laboratory reagents, and have been published in leading scientific journals.
In late October 2017, Archer announced the acquisition of Australian graphene production innovator Carbon Allotropes Pty. Limited, and the appointment of its founder, Dr Mohammad Choucair, as Chief Executive Officer of Archer Exploration. Dr Choucair’s achievements have landed him the coveted Cornforth Medal from the Royal Australian Chemical Institute Inc., a seat on the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council for Advanced Materials, and recognition by Virgin Australia as one of the Top Australian Stars of 2016.
Commenting on the opportunity, Archer CEO, Dr Mohammad Choucair said: “Negotiations with CDIP will allow Archer to leverage our materials assets, and recent acquisitions, as high value, materials-centric, end-to-end solutions to solve one of the most challenging problems in our technological age.”
“Archer is in a strong position to develop and commercialise strategically relevant IP for long-term company success and business development,” added Dr. Choucair.
Quantum computing devices form a strongly growing part of the existing, mature semiconductor and electronic parts manufacturing industry worth an estimated $540bn. This is because a number of existing and novel materials are at the heart of some of the biggest technical and operational challenges in a quantum computing market, estimated to be worth $5bn and predicted to grow exponentially over the next decade to exceed $29bn, as technological advancements shift from theoretical foundations to prototype development. This shift includes both hardware (devices) and software, potentially affecting sectors dependent on computational power, including pharmaceuticals, energy, transport, finance and security.
The negotiations with the University will centre on Archer’s exclusive right to develop and commercialise the IP described in a patent cooperation treaty (PCT) application that was filed by the University in the names of the University and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).
Archer’s participation in the development of materials for use in quantum computing technology will provide future opportunities and new markets to underpin further development of Archer’s substantial materials resources that include graphite, graphene and materials in the Carbon Allotropes inventory.
“The IP potentially reduces many of the technological barriers to realising practical quantum computing using solid-state materials, which would allow Archer the opportunity to develop and commercialise a first of its kind practical quantum computing chip (device), while doing so quickly and with significantly reduced costs compared to current approaches employing component materials requiring established trade-offs in operation, infrastructure, and cost,” added Dr. Choucair.