Archer Materials Ltd (ASX:AXE) is a materials technology company with business streams across integrated parts of the materials life cycle.
Chief executive officer Dr Mohammad Choucair said the company’s strategy involved several commercial pathways from securing the supply side, discovering new materials and applying them in quantum technology.
He said: “Materials are the tangible physical basis of all technology and our strategy covers exploration, tech development, processing materials and delivering materials because all these commercial pathways are on the materials lifecycle.
“All of these business streams are normal and in fact, that’s what materials technology companies do, big or small – the larger more known companies include 3M, Dow, Siemens, Thermofisher, General Electric, Intel or IBM.
“These are large multinational companies that have core business units dedicated to materials technology.”
Quantum computing technology
In the next 18 months to two years, the company is also focused on advancing its quantum computing business unit.
Choucair said: “You can focus on the next-generation technology you want but if you don’t build it and show it works no one is going to believe you.
“With our quantum computing stream, we have delivered.
“We brought in the IP and we have exclusively licensed the IP that’s associated with the technology, and we’re building the chip.
“The core materials in the technology have the proven potential to allow the wide-scale use of quantum computing powered devices onboard your phones, onboard your laptops.”
Addressing technical constraints
The development of the 12CQ qubit processor chip technology is significant because the right materials in the chip determine the technical constraints and limitations for the quantum computing process.
Choucair said: “Computing can either be done at really low temperature because of the materials that you use or if it’s done at room at room temperature, it’s very difficult to integrate these materials and these devices into your phones and laptops.
“The material that I invented and forms the basis of the IP combines the benefits of both those – it unifies those two disparate fields.
“It has a proven potential to work at room temperature and be integrated easily into modern devices.”
This means the commercial barriers to entry in the quantum computing field are heavily reduced.
The company is focused on advancing its quantum computing business unit over the next 18 months.
Reducing commercial barriers
The current quantum systems needed to do the computing at low temperature cost hundreds of millions of dollars, which Choucair said was highly impractical.
He said: “The systems fill a room, it’s not practical and you have limited use and ultimately your business models are constricted.
“You can only offer quantum computing as a cloud-based service, you can’t own your own quantum computer unless you have hundreds of millions of dollars.
“It greatly limits your opportunities, your distribution channels and your market.”
With Archer’s unique technology, they have been able to reduce the commercial barriers to entering the market.
Choucair said: “We’re able to apply an existing business model from the semiconductor industry that involves building the chip and selling it, and you can license other parts of the IP out.
“We’ve brought down the technological barriers, but we’ve also reduced the commercial barriers so that everyone could potentially own a quantum computing powered device.
“Ultimately both those things link back to the material, that’s why we’re a materials technology company, that’s what materials technology companies do, we come up with these solutions and commercialise them.”
Quantum technologies could potentially create an $86 billion global industry by 2040 and Archer is confident that quantum computing will present substantial opportunities for economic growth in Australia in the coming decades.
Choucair said: “We’re not just working on pie-in-the-sky stuff; we’re working on technology that has the ability to impact global markets.
“This is an industry that’s worth a phenomenal amount of money.”
Choucair points to the billion-dollar mobile phone industry that relies on materials technology as one example.
He said: “What if when you bought your mobile phone a battery didn’t come with it - you’d have to go buy one.
“And what’s a battery? It’s materials technology.”
Earlier this year, Archer announced an agreement to join the International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) Q Network as an ecosystem partner.
The agreement supports the company’s plans to use IBM's open-source framework, Qiskit, as the software stack for its 12CQ qubit processor chip technology.
Choucair said “We want Australian businesses and consumers to be one of the first beneficiaries of this exciting technology and now that we are collaborating with IBM, it greatly increases our chances of success.
“We look forward to working with IBM and members of the network to address the most fundamental challenges to the wide-scale adoption of quantum computing, using our potentially complementary technologies as starting points.”
The company is currently focused on assembling the control componentry in the chip.
Choucair said: “Building hardware is not easy, that’s why there are very few people in the world even attempting to do it.
“If we put that together over the next 12 months that’s phenomenal and will be a world-first technologically.”