Industrial/Product Design

Industrial design of an integrated system for producing optical qubits for quantum technologies.

Quandela, headquartered in Paris, France has developed a unique semiconductor-based source of quantum light. Quantum light sources (or single-photon sources) are at the core of photonic-based quantum computing systems and quantum communication networks. 

Quandela’s unique technology consists of micrometer size devices, each one containing a single artificial atom, which generates streams of identical single photons with extremely high efficiency and purity. These single photon source devices are implemented in quantum computing platforms to speed-up computation time and increase complexity by orders of magnitude. 

Pentagram developed the industrial design of two products for Quandela, a single photon source control unit and the first fully integrated photonic qubit emitter. The fully integrated system brings together multiple elements into a single device including a Quandela photonic chip, a compact cryogenic system required to cool the chip up to -265 C, a laser source, the qubit control unit and control and monitoring electronics. This fully integrated system serves as basis for the scale-up of Quandela’s technology aiming at the realisation of reconfigurable optical quantum computing platforms, where various optical modules are interconnected via optical fibres.

Underlying the design is a modular approach with each piece of equipment housed in a dedicated enclosure that is compatible with standard 19” rack systems. The integrated system brings together a number of modules supported structures managing power distribution and airflow. The photon control unit is a stand-alone single enclosure.

To develop a unique design language for Quandela products, the industrial design team collaborated closely with Quandela’s founders to understand the technology and find inspiration from relevant scientific themes. The form of the integrated system is loosely based on the Chinese character for gate, one of the important elements of optics and computing. Duality is an important concept in quantum mechanics, intrinsic in the nature of light itself; to represent this in the products, the front surfaces of each module are corrugated and finished alternately in matt and gloss giving the material two different appearances depending on the angle of view.

The French blue colour chosen for Quandela products is distinctive in daylight and in semi-darkness which is important because Quandela’s equipment is designed to be used in optics laboratories usually requiring low-light conditions. The Integrated system includes important details such as in-build subtle lighting, guides for the fibre optic cables, power distribution and a drop-down removable keyboard to program the in-built computing control systems.

The new design unifies elements that were previously spread around a laboratory and gives a distinctive identity to Quandela’s technology, helping Quandela to commercialise its technology, which will form a building block of future computing and communications systems.

Industrial/Product Design
Jon Marshall
Project team
Harc Lee
Guy Naor
Matt La Prod (photography)
Cyril Frésillon (photography)
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