It was an uncharacteristically rainy Monday morning in Adelaide when we chatted to chief executive officer at Archer Materials, Dr Mohammad Choucair.
For a dull day, Choucair deftly navigated his way from explaining the minutiae of quantum physics to inspirational big-picture business strategy and all the places in between. From learning about the company’s hiring processes to why he fell in love with science in the first place, the conversation certainly brightened up the day.
Quantum mechanics for novices
So, at a basic level, quantum mechanics describes the way nature and matter function at the scale of atoms and subatomic particles, which is fundamentally different from the way they work at the many scales above that size (which is described by classical physics).
Functioning quantum computers do exist at this point in time, but are all early stage clunky machines limited in their use, and should they be successfully developed, it is theorised that they could solve computational problems substantially faster than any existing computers; quantum computing also has significant implications for cryptography and cybersecurity.
Quantum computing aims to use quantum mechanical phenomena to increase the computational power of the next generation of computers.
Archer Materials is a publicly listed company, headquartered at Lot Fourteen, with team members in Sydney and Brisbane, and its sights set on becoming a world leader in quantum computing.
The company’s 12CQ quantum computing chip is breakthrough, developing hardware technology to address complex challenges to the widespread use of quantum computing.
The 12CQ qubit processor chip could transform our mobile and data-centric applications, using quantum powered mobile computing devices.
After years in research and development, the hardware technology that Archer is building, as it moves towards commercialisation, is a world-first.
In fact, Mohammad says they have no competitors and they’re in a league of their own. Archer is working with global giant in quantum computing, IBM, and is part of the invite-only, global IBM Quantum Network. Others, such as Google and Intel are building quantum software and hardware but not with the IP, capabilities and value proposition that Archer has.
How the inventors met
Current chairperson Greg English paired up with the world-class materials developer and inventor, CEO Dr Choucair, who went on to scout the inventor of the single atom transistor and pioneering quantum physicist Dr Martin Fuechsle, to form the backbone of Archer Materials.
Dr Mohammad Choucair is internationally recognised for his forward-thinking breakthroughs in Nanotechnology and received the Royal Australian Chemical Institute Cornforth Medal for the most outstanding Chemistry PhD in Australia in 2011.
Dr Martin Fuechsle, gained the 2013 Bragg Gold Medal for Excellence in Physics. He was awarded the Medal for completing the most outstanding PhD in Physics in Australia that year.
Finding the top one per cent talent in deep-tech around the world is now their hiring policy.
A key question used in interviewing potential candidates is; What have you designed or invented which has had the most impact on the world?
And it takes one to know one.
Mohammad, at just twenty years old developed the first technique to chemically produce graphene in industrial scale quantities.
And where will the technology be used?
Autonomous systems, space, retail, big data, AI, cyber security and defence are just some of the sectors Mohammad reels off that will be impacted as quantum technology becomes a viable and commercial option.
He says that’s the importance of being based at Lot Fourteen.
“The companies based at Lot Fourteen will, at some point, need a quantum computing chip or quantum computing processing power.
“Specifically, defence, space and cyber industries initially.
“The product was invented in Australia and we’ll be building it right here too.
When we ask for their vision for the future the answer is simple. When it comes to creating a world-first deep tech set to revolutionise the world, Mohammad’s vision is to just, “build it.”
“At Archer, we are working with global leaders in computing and AI to develop and integrate the software required to enable the operation of our 12CQ chip and its proposed high impact end-use applications.
“Hardware and software firms working together at an early stage of technology development is a well-known recipe for success in the computing industry.
“I’m not a futurist. We just want to build it. We’re all about getting the job done.”
The company has attracted plenty of partners keen to work with them on their technology - not least of them IBM, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne and University of Sydney.
Archer Materials has now had the technology’s related patents in the US, China, Japan, and South Korea all granted this year, with applications pending in Europe, Australia, and Hong Kong.