CORDIS - EU research results

attojoule Cryogenic Communication

Project description

Optical fibre links to cryostats can boost computing power and energy efficiency

All envisaged practical implementations of cryogenic processors, including both quantum computers (QCs) and classical processors based on single flux quantum (SFQ) signals, require massive data transfer from and to classical high performance computers (HPCs). The EU-funded aCryComm project aims to develop building blocks for cryogenic photonics interconnects and eventually enable this challenging data transfer. The long-term goal is the development of an open-access platform to integrate classical optical interfaces based on low-loss silicon photonics, plasmonics, and nano light sources together with superconducting photonic and electronic devices, including SFQ-based co-processors for HPCs and for QCs.


The end of Moore’s law has led to unsustainable growth in data centre and high-performance computing (HPC) power consumption. Within the post-CMOS technologies addressing this energy crisis, those based on superconductivity are among the most promising ones. Superconducting classical computing based on single flux quantum (SFQ) pulses is a technology enabling clock speeds exceeding 100 GHz, at extreme power efficiency. Rather than compete with CMOS head on, our vision is that SFQ cores should act as coprocessors in existing HPC architectures, much like GPUs do today. Superconducting circuits are also a leading candidate for implementations of quantum computing (QC), which promises to solve certain classically intractable problems. There, SFQ logic offers a natural solution for tight integration of the signal processing required for control and readout of large-scale error-corrected superconducting quantum processors. In both HPC and QC, expanding to large scale is essential for practical impact, and thus, high-bandwidth data transfer to the cryogenic coprocessor is a key bottleneck. In aCryComm we combine top-level European expertise in HPC, superconducting electronics, quantum computing, and photonics to create an optical data bus between conventional HPC and cryogenic SFQ circuits. We expect the optical data link to outperform conventional electrical connections in bandwidth, energy consumption, thermal loading, and physical footprint. To this end, we will develop opto-electric and electro-optic interfaces, culminating in demonstrators that quantitatively characterize the data bus performance. Thanks to the inter-disciplinary composition of the consortium, we are also able to produce and promote a plan for the long-term exploitation of the cryogenic data bus in HPC and QC. We also suggest paths to commercializing our technologies, taking advantage of the unique possibility the consortium offers for transferring R&D to production in the same European facilities.


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Net EU contribution
€ 874 460,00
02150 Espoo

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Manner-Suomi Helsinki-Uusimaa Helsinki-Uusimaa
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 874 460,00

Participants (6)