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This article was published on December 6, 2023

‘Quantum-first’ microscope could solve chip inspection roadblock

Dutch startup QuantaMap is using a combination of cryogenics and quantum sensors for quality assurance


‘Quantum-first’ microscope could solve chip inspection roadblock

Oh, the wonderful and mind-twisting world of quantum mechanics. However, in order to harness the magic-like potential of bending qubits to one’s will, there is a whole lot of nitty gritty engineering that needs to occur. 

The quantum revolution will not happen unless an entire ecosystem comes together, each part reaching the highest potential of its own expertise. 

And plenty of that development is happening in the Netherlands. Just today, Dutch startup QuantaMap announced it had secured €1.4mn in funding for its quality assurance tech for the production of quantum computer chips.

Quantum chips are not like regular computer chips, on many different levels (let’s set operating principles and data processing aside for now). One of these is that when they do not work like they should, there is not really any way of finding out why, and what has failed. This is to a great extent because it is so difficult to measure properties of the quantum chips without disturbing the qubits in the process. 

QuantaMap, based in Leiden, the Netherlands, has developed what it calls a “quantum-first” microscope that will allow both quantum researchers and chip manufacturers to closely inspect every chip and improve quality. 

What sets its technology apart, the startup says, is a combination of cryogenic scanning technology with quantum sensors, both specifically designed for quantum applications. 

“We are convinced that our technology will be instrumental for making good on the promises of quantum computing, enabling the societal advances that quantum technology can deliver,” said QuantaMap co-founder Johannes Jobst.

QuantaMap was founded in November 2022 by Jobst, Kaveh Lahabi, Milan Allan, and Jimi de Haan. The funding round includes investment from QDNL Participations, a fund that will invest €15mn into early-stage Dutch quantum computing startups in the coming years. 

Ton van ‘t Noordende, the fund’s managing director, said that QuantaMap’s unique combination of cryogenic scanning-probe microscopy and custom quantum sensors would solve the crucial challenge of producing reliable quantum chips. 

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