News & Events

Defence Trailblazer funds project with Silex and SQC in a quantum leap to boost our nation’s defences

18 August 2023

Through its Advanced Innovation Fund (AIF), the Defence Trailblazer program will contribute $5.1 million to support the establishment of a Quantum Silicon (Q-Si) Production Plant, which aims to deliver an end-to-end Australian manufacturing facility producing enriched silicon for silicon quantum computers.

“The intent of the Defence Trailblazer Program is to support the commercialisation of Australian technologies that will have a material benefit to the Defence sector in Australia. Through the Quantum Silicon Production Project, a sovereign end-to-end supply chain for critical quantum materials essential for silicon quantum computing will be created. The advent of quantum computing is expected to have profound impacts on Defence and National Security activities, and this Project is a perfect fit with the intent of the Trailblazer,” said Sanjay Mazumdar, Executive Director of Defence Trailblazer.

In collaboration with over 35 industry partners, academia and government, the Defence Trailblazer aims to strengthen Australia’s defence capabilities by developing cutting-edge technologies and solutions, while equipping the next generation of innovators with specialised knowledge and skills to meet the current and future needs of Defence.

This new project is jointly funded with partners, Silex Systems Limited (Silex), Silicon Quantum Computing Pty Ltd (SQC) and UNSW.

“We are delighted to receive funding under the Federal Government’s Defence Trailblazer Program, which will assist us to transition our Zero-Spin Silicon enrichment technology from the pilot demonstration level to commercial-scale, including the development of product conversion technology to produce two forms of commercial Quantum Silicon products (gas and solid) required by emerging silicon quantum chip fabricators around the world,”

“This enables us to capitalise on the results achieved in the recently completed Zero-Spin Silicon Project for our innovative SILEX laser isotope separation technology and to establish a sovereign capability and secure supply chain for this critical enabling material for the emerging silicon quantum computing industry. Previously, the main supply of enriched silicon came from Russia, but this source has been disrupted by geopolitical events,” said Michael Goldsworthy, Silex’s CEO/Managing Director.

“Following the successful collaboration under the CRC-P program, SQC is tremendously excited about the expansion of our partnership with Silex through the Trailblazer Quantum Silicon Production Project. The Trailblazer funding supports Silex’s commercial-scale production of Quantum Silicon, the key enriched silicon material essential to the manufacture of SQC’s atom-scale quantum computers in Australia. The creation of a sovereign supply of this vital material comes at a time when our traditional source of supply has been disrupted. We couldn’t be more motivated to support this project,” said Professor Michelle Simmons AO, CEO of SQC.

To date, Defence Trailblazer has received 25 projects from its industry partners for possible funding under the AIF – these are in the areas of quantum materials, technologies & computing, defensive hypersonics & countermeasures, information warfare & advanced cyber technologies, robotics, autonomous systems & AI and defence space tech