Quantum computer lab

MITRE and Quantum Moonshot Team Reach Milestone on Race Toward a Quantum Computer

Advancement in photonic circuit published in Nature Photonics.

McLean, Va. and Bedford, Mass., February 9, 2022 – MITRE, MIT, and Sandia National Laboratories are collaborating on a moonshot effort to build a quantum computer and recently published experimental findings in Nature Photonics.

“We’re excited to announce a milestone toward scalable quantum computing,” said Gerald Gilbert, Ph.D., MITRE Fellow and leader of MITRE’s Quantum Moonshot program. “Based on optical entanglement of spin quantum memories, the approach leverages advanced semiconductor chip manufacturing for error-corrected quantum computing on millions of qubits. Now, using industry-standard complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) fabrication, the team has achieved the world’s largest-scale quantum photonic chip for entanglement distribution among diamond-based spin memories, validated for high-speed switching and cryogenic temperature operation.”

More than a year ago, the Quantum Moonshot team created the first version of their photonic integrated circuit and continued to work throughout the pandemic on the many steps necessary to produce a scalable quantum computer, including designing and prototyping nearly every component on the photonic circuit from the ground up. This year they demonstrated that the photonic circuit:

  • Is high-speed (faster than 100 MHz)
  • Is programmable via a USB interface
  • Operates in visible wavelengths (700 nm–780 nm)
  • Works at cryogenic temperatures (4–5K)

“We believe our results are paving the way toward a fully universal, scalable quantum computer and integrated quantum network,” said Dr. Jay Schnitzer, MITRE, chief technology and medical officer.

Team members who authored “High-speed programmable photonic circuits in a cryogenically compatible, visible-near-infrared 200 mm CMOS architecture” include MITRE’s Mark Dong, Genevieve Clark, Matthew Zimmermann, David Heim, and Gerald Gilbert; Sandia’s Matt Eichenfield, Andrew J. Leenheer, and Daniel Dominguez; and MIT’s Dirk Englund and Adrian J. Menssen.


MITRE’s mission-driven teams are dedicated to solving problems for a safer world. Through our public-private partnerships and federally funded R&D centers, we work across government and in partnership with industry to tackle challenges to the safety, stability, and well-being of our nation.

Media Contact: Mike Murphy, media@mitre.org