Archer to negotiate exclusively with Uni of Sydney on quantum technology IP

Published at May 23, 2018, in Mining

Archer Exploration Limited (ASX:AXE) has today announced that it has entered into exclusive negotiations with The University of Sydney for exclusive rights to develop and commercialise intellectual property (IP) related to graphene-based quantum computing technology.

AXE is working with the University’s office of Commercial Development and Industry Partnerships (CDIP).

The patent rights are jointly held between the University of Sydney and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) through a collaborative research project co-led by Dr Mohammad Choucair when he worked at the University. The University and EPFL finalised an agreement with which EPFL allows the University to take the commercialisation lead in processing to negotiate with Archer.

The negotiations are part of the filing of an international patent application by CDIP under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), as international trade accounts for 96% of revenue in the global semiconductor and electronic parts manufacturing industry1.

The development of commercial quantum computing technology would transform computing across multiple sectors, including pharmaceuticals, energy, transport, finance and security.

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Commenting on the exclusive agreement, AXE CEO Mohammad Choucair stated: “There is a need within the quantum computing market to develop componentry that can be integrated into electronic circuitry while remaining functional at room-temperature, allowing practical non-disruptive solutions that could facilitate the wide-scale point-of-use by consumers.

“Our negotiations with CDIP will allow Archer to leverage our strategic graphite and graphene resources, and our inventory of specialised materials assets held in our Carbon Allotropes business, to find high value, materials-centric, end-to-end solutions to solve one of the most significant problems in our technological age.

“It is important to note that Australia has globally recognised expertise in quantum materials and is at the forefront of quantum technology. Archer is in a strong position to develop and commercialise strategically relevant IP for long-term company success and business development.”

The IP relates to the development of a quantum electronic device (QED) for storing and processing quantum bits (qubits), the fundamental components of a quantum computer.

The QED comprises advanced carbon material components critical for its function, including graphene, which are available in the inventory of Archer’s wholly owned subsidiary, Carbon Allotropes.

With respect to the filing of the international patent application, Dr Choucair said: “The first written opinion of the international searching authority found that all 16 claims in the PCT were novel and inventive, and the invention can be made by, or used in, industry, respectively. This is the best possible result for the development at this time, and it gives us the confidence to proceed with negotiations with a reduced legal and technical risk at this stage of commercialisation.”

About quantum computing

Quantum computing devices form a strongly growing part of the semiconductor and electronic parts manufacturing industry worth an estimated $540 billion1.

Materials are at the heart of some of the biggest technical and operational challenges in a quantum computing market, predicted to grow exponentially 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. Applications for quantum computing across various sectors are emerging, and including artificial intelligence, molecular modelling, cryptography, and financial modelling, where parallel analyses of large data sets, complex calculations, and end-to-end tamper proof signalling are needed.

Further, Dr Choucair concluded: “We are looking forward to our involvement in the development and commercialisation of this potential breakthrough in quantum computing IP which reduces many of the technological barriers to realising practical quantum computing using solid-state materials. Given the established years of research and results supporting this IP, it has the potential, over a short time frame, to allow Archer to develop and commercialise a world first, practical quantum computing chip (device), with significantly reduced costs compared to current approaches.”

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1 IBISWorld Industry Report. May 2018. Global Semiconductor and Electronic Parts.

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