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Duke University and IonQ Develop New Quantum Computing Gate, Only Possible on IonQ and Duke Systems

Researchers discover a new method to perform the N-qubit Toffoli gate, a more efficient quantum operation helpful in scaling quantum algorithms

New family of N-qubit gates can only be run on IonQ quantum computer architecture

Once implemented, gate is expected to speed up several fundamental algorithms for quantum computing

Today, the Duke Quantum Center (DQC) at Duke University and IonQ (NYSE: IONQ) announced the invention of a new quantum computing operation with the potential to accelerate several key quantum computing techniques and contribute to scaling quantum algorithms. The new quantum gate is a novel way to operate on many connected qubits at once and leverages the multi-qubit communication bus available only on IonQ and DQC quantum computers. Full details of the gate technique can be found on the preprint archive arXiv at arXiv:2202.04230.

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Schematic of trapped ion quantum processor (courtesy IonQ)

Schematic of trapped ion quantum processor (courtesy IonQ)

The new gate family includes the N-qubit Toffoli gate, which flips a select qubit if and only if all the other qubits are in a particular state. Unlike standard two-qubit quantum computing gates, the N-qubit Toffoli gate acts on many qubits at once, leading to more efficient operations. The gate appears naturally in many common quantum algorithms.

IonQ and Duke’s discovery may lead to significant efficiency gains in solving fundamental quantum algorithms, such as Grover’s search algorithm, variational quantum eigensolvers (VQEs), and arithmetic operations like addition and multiplication. These use cases are ubiquitous across quantum computing applications, and are core to IonQ’s work in quantum chemistry, quantum finance, and quantum machine learning. They are also key components of commonly accepted industry benchmarks for quantum computers, which have already shown IonQ’s computers to be clear industry leaders.

“This discovery is an example of us continuing to build on the leading technical architecture we've established. It adds to the unique and powerful capabilities we are developing for quantum computing applications," said Peter Chapman, CEO at IonQ.

This research, conducted at Duke by Dr. Or Katz, Prof. Marko Cetina, and IonQ co-Founder and Chief Scientist Prof. Christopher Monroe, will be integrated into IonQ’s quantum computing operating system for the general public to use. Monroe notes that, “no other available quantum computing architectures—not even other ion-based quantum computers—are able to utilize this new family of N-qubit gates. This is because IonQ’s quantum computers uniquely feature full connectivity and a wide communication bus that allows all qubits to talk to each other simultaneously.”

This discovery follows a series of announcements around IonQ’s research efforts and preparations for scale. In December, IonQ announced that it plans to use barium ions as qubits in its systems, bringing about a wave of advantages it believes will enable advanced quantum computing architectures. Last year, the team also debuted the industry’s first Reconfigurable Multicore Quantum Architecture and Evaporated Glass Trap technology, both of which are expected to contribute to scaling the number of qubits in IonQ’s quantum computers.

About IonQ

IonQ, Inc. is a leader in quantum computing, with a proven track record of innovation and deployment. IonQ’s next-generation quantum computer is the world’s most powerful trapped-ion quantum computer, and IonQ has defined what it believes is the best path forward to scale.

IonQ is the only company with its quantum systems available through the cloud on Amazon Braket, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, as well as through direct API access. IonQ was founded in 2015 by Christopher Monroe and Jungsang Kim based on 25 years of pioneering research. To learn more, visit

IonQ Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Some of the forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking words. Statements that are not historical in nature, including the words “anticipate,” “expect,” “suggests,” “plan,” “believe,” “intend,” “estimates,” “targets,” “projects,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “may,” “will,” “forecast” and other similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements include those related to the potential achievement of significant efficiency gains in solving fundamental quantum algorithms; the integration of the new N-qubit family of gates with IonQ’s quantum computers; IonQ’s plans to use barium ions as qubits in its systems, bringing about a wave of advantages it believes will enable advanced quantum computing architectures; IonQ’s plans to use Reconfigurable Multicore Quantum Architecture and Evaporated Glass Trap technology, both of which are expected to contribute to scaling the number of qubits in IonQ’s quantum computers; IonQ’s ability to further develop and advance its quantum computers and achieve scale; IonQ’s market opportunity and anticipated growth; and the commercial benefits to customers of using quantum computing solutions. Forward-looking statements are predictions, projections and other statements about future events that are based on current expectations and assumptions and, as a result, are subject to risks and uncertainties. Many factors could cause actual future events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in this press release, including but not limited to: market adoption of quantum computing solutions and IonQ’s products, services and solutions; the ability of IonQ to protect its intellectual property; changes in the competitive industries in which IonQ operates; changes in laws and regulations affecting IonQ’s business; IonQ’s ability to implement its business plans, forecasts and other expectations, and identify and realize additional partnerships and opportunities; and the risk of downturns in the market and the technology industry including, but not limited to, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. You should carefully consider the foregoing factors and the other risks and uncertainties described in the “Risk Factors” section of IonQ’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2021 and other documents filed by IonQ from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These filings identify and address other important risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events and results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements, and IonQ assumes no obligation and does not intend to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. IonQ does not give any assurance that it will achieve its expectations.


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