IBM builds the world’s largest dilution refrigerator for quantum computers

“Goldeneye is a testament to the fact that a small team of people armed with passion and dedication can move a seven-ton ‘mountain’ of steel and electronics,” read the blog.

“The super-fridge contains 1.7 cubic meters’ worth of experimental volume, meaning it can cool a volume larger than three home kitchen refrigerators to temperatures colder than the outer space, versus previous fridges, which are in the range of 0.4-0.7 cubic meters.”

The IBM team managed to successfully cool the fridge down to operating temperature (~25 mK) and wired a quantum processor inside. The device will now move to the IBM Quantum Computation Center in Poughkeepsie, NY, where a new team of researchers will explore large-scale cryogenic systems to best develop the cooling needs of tomorrow’s quantum data centers.

“We hope that its innovative design, with an eye toward ease-of-use, will inspire the next generation of vacuum and low-temperature refrigeration technologies,” engineers said in the blog.

But achieving that will not come without problems. These types of fridges are advanced pieces of machinery and thus challenging to scale. However, Goldeneye does have some unique attributes that aid in its assembly and operation.

It features an all-new construction of the frame and cryostat and a modular design which made prototyping, assembly, and disassembly a much easier lift for just a team of four IBM engineers. This makes it quite a unique model, as other large dilution refrigerators may require larger cranes and a dozen or more technicians for assembly and disassembly.