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News - Quantum lift - eeNews Europe
CONTENTS                                                                                                                                               OCTOBER 2020

      Shockwaves of a deal                                                                          www.een

                                                                                                                                                                                     October 20

      The prospect of the largest deal in the semiconductor industry has put the

      IP business under scrutiny. Nvidia’s $40bn offer to buy ARM from Japanese                   electron
                                                                                                          ics euro
                                                                                                                  pe   News
      tech conglomerate Softbank faces tremendous obstacles, not least as a
      pawn in the US-China trade war. The prospect of key IP resting with a
      large US competitor raises issues for China and for multiple global semi-
      These issues were not a surprise. ARM was in play for months pr
      ior to the deal, but efforts to form a consortium failed to materialise.
      The Nvidia deal will take 18 months to secure, if it happens at all.
      Qualcomm’s $44bn bid back in 2018 to buy NXP failed to win approval
      in China and failed. The geopolitical forces at work are even more pro-
      nounced today.                                                                             Quantum
      The ARM ecosystem is a key part of the embedded, IoT and auto-
      motive markets, and gaining traction in the data centre and high per-
      formance computing. What happens with the deal, and afterwards,
      matters to the entire industry.
                                                                                business an

      		                                                          Nick Flaherty                                               200922_9-2

                                                                                                                                                                                     3:26 PM

  4 - 34: OPINION                                                26:    IoT NODES & NETWORKS

       Uncommon Market                                                  Why securing IoT nodes matters
       Boosting the throughput
       of Covid-19 test systems
       has been vital in
       addressing the pandemic

       Last Word
       Four trends for manufacturing post-Covid

       The latest developments                                   27 - 32: MEMORY TECHNOLOGIES
       in quantum technologies
       and the impact of the                                            Running the HBM2E memory interface to 4Gbit/s,
       ARM-Nvidia deal and the                                          memory architectures for AI, and tackling spurious
       US-China trade war                                               noise in embedded memory designs

                                                                  33: DISTRIBUTION CORNER
       Testing new protocols
       for 5G wireless, optical
       drivers and why it
       matters to the business
       to have test systems up                                   Cover
       and running quickly                                       A breakthrough in quantum communication technology
                                                                 by a group led by the University of Bristol is securing networks.
                                                                 Image credit ÖAW / Klaus Pichler / QET                                        eeNews Europe                        October 2020                                                     News                              3
News - Quantum lift - eeNews Europe

World first with multiple Covid-19 test machine
By Nick Flaherty

       osch has reduced the test time for its Vivalytic machine        PCR tests. This replaces Randox Labs in northern Ireland that
       to 39 minutes with five Covid-19 tests simultaneously in        was the lab partner for the first version launched at the end of
       a world first                                                   March after just six weeks’ development. This was a multiplex
                                                                       test that simultaneously checks samples for the SARS-CoV-2
Bosch has developed a new rapid test for its Vivalytic analy-          virus and nine other respiratory diseases in two and a half
sis device to detect Covid-19 with five simultaneous tests per         hours.
cartridge. This helps tackle the
major drawback of throughput
and cartridge production for DNA
test machines and is a world first,
says the company.

The 39 minute test is currently the
fastest polymerase chain reaction
(PCR) test worldwide and is aimed
at mobile test centres at motor-
way service stations or in airports
to obtain a reliable result while at
the testing site. The new machine
is CE-approved and available in
Europe now.

From early October, it will be pos-
sible to simultaneously evaluate
five samples in one test cartridge
and at a comparable speed,
a world first according to the
company. This will increase the
throughput with fully automated
processing of more than 160 samples a day. Optimized soft-
ware to be rolled out in the next few weeks will further reduce        This is comparable to the multiplex one hour test developed
the time to result for positive Covid-19 samples.                      by DNAnudge in the UK thas has been shown a sensitivity of
                                                                       94.4% accurate compared against standard NHS lab-based
“One of the keys to fighting the coronavirus pandemic is to rap-       tests and a specificity of 100 percent to avoid false positives.
idly identify sources of infection. That’s why we focused on fol-
lowing up on our first coronavirus test with an even faster one,”      “The decentralisation of mass testing is now being recognised
says Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management           as the key to addressing this unprecedented public health
of Robert Bosch. “This will now enable us to put people’s minds        crisis, and these results very clearly support the use of Co-
at ease even more quickly.”                                            vidNudge as a highly accurate, rapid and near-patient testing
                                                                       solution that can be delivered on-the-spot and at scale, in both
The development of the new Bosch PCR singleplex test is part           clinical and non-clinical settings,” said Prof Chris Toumazou,
of a research and development project funded by the German             CEO and co-founder of DnaNudge.
Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
                                                                       The new, accelerated test from Bosch is exclusively for Co-
“I believe it’s important that people have clarity about their state   vid-19 to reduce the test time.
of health as quickly as possible. In this respect, insights from
science and research can bring people huge benefits. Over              “With our different coronavirus tests and variable analysis strat-
the next few months, we will be confronted with the particular         egies, we open up a range of testing scenarios with a Vivalytic
challenge of having to test more people,” said the German              device – from screening all the way to supporting differential
minister minister for education and research Anja Karliczek.           diagnosis for diseases with similar symptoms,” said Marc Meier,
“The improved testing procedure developed by Bosch with the            president of Bosch Healthcare Solutions.
BMBF’s support has the potential to be a tremendous help with
this complex job. The rapid improvement of our technological           By the end of the year, Bosch wants to reach capacity for one
capabilities shows what innovative achievements German com-            million tests and says it is working closely with its suppliers to
panies can deliver in times of crisis.”                                maximize capacity and further increase supply of both ma-
The test has a sensitivity of 98 percent and a specificity of 100      chines and cartridges using its existing manufacturing capabili-
percent. To develop it, the Bosch subsidiary Bosch Healthcare          ties at Bosch Healthcare Solutions at Waiblingen in Germany.
Solutions joined forces with the German biotechnology compa-           Bosch
ny R-Biopharm – a leading provider of highly sensitive manual          Bosch Healthcare Solutions

4                News October 2020                            @eeNewsEurope                         
News - Quantum lift - eeNews Europe
NEWS & TECHNOLOGY                                                                                              ARM UPDATE

ARM sale to Nvidia agreed at $40 billion
By Peter Clarke

       oftBank Group Corp. has announced it plans to sell ARM              The deal is being funded with shares and cash and as a
       Ltd. to GPU and AI technology vendor Nvidia Corp. for            result SoftBank will acquire a stake in Nvidia, which is expected
       up to $40 billion.                                               to be under 10 percent. It also includes a $5 billion bonus for
   Although many have spoken out against the deal on the                SoftBank if ARM achieves certain financial performance targets
grounds it could weaken ARM’s independent IP licensing                  that would take the value up to $40 billion.
model, Nvidia has provided some assurances to try and dispel               Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA, said: “AI is the
doubts.                                                                 most powerful technology force of our time and has launched
   Nvidia said it will continue                                                                        a new wave of computing. In the
ARM’s open licensing model and                                                                         years ahead, trillions of comput-
customer neutrality while add-                                                                         ers running AI will create a new
ing Nvidia technology into ARM’s                                                                       internet-of-things that is thousands
portfolio. In addition, Nvidia said it                                                                 of times larger than today’s inter-
would retain the ARM brand and                                                                         net-of-people. Our combination
that ARM’s intellectual property                                                                       will create a company fabulously
would continue to be registered in                                                                     positioned for the age of AI.”
the UK.                                                                    Nvidia said that SoftBank and ARM remain committed to
   Nvidia said ARM would continue to be headquartered in                satisfying the undertakings made by SoftBank when it acquired
Cambridge, UK and that Nvidia would expand ARM’s R&D                    Arm in 2016 and which are scheduled to complete in Septem-
presence there. The expansion would include the creation of an          ber 2021. In its statement Nvidia did not speak about what
AI research and education center and the building of an ARM/            would happen after 2021 or any further time-bound undertak-
Nvidia AI supercomputer for research purposes.                          ings.
   The terms have been agreed by the boards of SoftBank,                   The deal is constructed with $2 billion payable at signing and
Nvidia and ARM, but completion of the deal is dependent on              an eventual total of $12 billion to be paid in cash plus $21.5 bil-
regulatory approval from the UK, China, the European Union              lion in Nvidia common stock. Nvidia will also provide $1.5 billion
and the United Stares. The size and strategic significance of           in equity to ARM employees.
the deal means that Nvidia is forecasting it could take up to 18           The deal does not include ARM’s IoT services group, which
months to complete.                                                     was split away from the main company a few months ago.

Defending the Nvidia-ARM deal
By Peter Clarke

      ensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, and Simon Segars, CEO of              deal went through, Nvidia would be competing with its custom-
      ARM, have been explaining the proposed combination of             ers; that this could be bad for Nvidia’s chip sales and for ARM’s
      the two companies.                                                IP licensing.
   The $40bn deal, one of the largest in the semiconductor                  Huang’s first line of defence was that as it stands ARM and
industry, is set to produce a major                                                                     Nvidia barely compete with each
force in fabless semiconductors                                                                         other and so IP licensing would
targeting artificial intelligence but                                                                   continue in an open and neutral
has been attacked by observers                                                                          manner. In 2019 Nvidia shipped
for removing the independence of                                                                        100 million chips mainly into the
IP provider ARM and potentially                                                                         data center while ARM technol-
impairing its business. By Nvidia’s                                                                     ogy shipped in 22 billion chips
own estimation the deal could                                                                           across all embedded fields, he
take as much as 18 months to                                                                            said. “We’re [Nvidia is] in very few
clear regulatory hurdles that could                                                                     mobile communications. We’re in
be thrown in its path.                                                                                  very few embedded applications.”
   The conference calls painted a                                                                       He added: “We love the business
picture of a combined Nvidia-ARM                                                                        model. It will stay open and fair
that would be a 30-year champion                                                                        and we’ll offer even more IP,” said
for the era of artificial intelligence.                                                                 Huang.
And that ARM would continue to license technology out us-                   So, Huang’s position appears to be different delivery mecha-
ing an open business model. Indeed, Huang frequently said               nisms for different application sectors.
that one purpose of the deal was to give Nvidia’s GPU and AI            But Nvidia’s adoption of the IP licensing model while also selling
technology access to customers via the IP licensing business            chips does not fundamentally address the objection of conflict
model.                                                                  of interest. It just adds Nvidia GPUs and AI cores to the conflict.
                                                                        One analyst picked up on that and used his question to probe
First line of defence                                                   further.
Most analysts bowled the fairly straight ball at Huang that if the          Huang’s second line of defence was to say that Nvidia wel-                                                 eeNews Europe         October 2020             News                  5
News - Quantum lift - eeNews Europe
NEWS & TECHNOLOGY                                                                            THE BATTERY CHALLENGE

comes competition throughout the data center platform from                 “How that’s documented, we’re more than delighted to have
chip to software. He said Nvidia sells chips, boards and soft-          that discussion. We’ve just started the conversation with the UK
ware in any combination. Some customers take the chips and              government. We have plenty of time to do it,” said Huang.
make their own boards or write their own software. Others take             It would appear Huang and Nvidia are not as keen on mak-
the software and make their own chips. Some take the platform.          ing legally-binding commitments as they are on making verbal
   In effect, Huang said Nvidia already competes with its cus-          promises, but that should not be a surprise.
tomers everywhere from chip to board to software. Adding ARM               Getting down to the nitty gritty an analyst asked: “Would a
will merely add competition at the IP level and is nothing to be        combined Nvidia-ARM continue to develop ARM’s Mali graph-
perturbed about. “We will stay neutral. We are committed to             ics processor architecture and continue to use the RISC-V
the open business model for boards, chips and throughout the            processor architecture?” Huang was quick with his answer;
software stack,” Huang said.                                            “Yes and yes.”
                                                                           He pointed out the Nvidia graphics and Mali graphics are
Three reasons                                                           aimed at different markets and they both serve them well. There
Huang said there are three reasons why Nvidia wants to buy              was room for both to go on developing. On RISC-V he said:
ARM as soon as possible:                                                “We are enthusiastic users of both ARM and RISC-V. They are
1) to license Nvidia’s IP through the ARM ecosystem                     very different things.” He said the ARM architecture and cores
2) To create a first-class data center computing platform based         have the advantage of a rich ecosystem helping get products
on the ARM architecture                                                 to market, legacy software and lots of developers working on
3) Invent the future of cloud-to-edge computing                         applications and software – but not all use cases need that.
    Segars appeared keener on the second two of the three               “We use RISC-V internally all over our large chips and we will
points. “I truly believe AI is the defining technology of the future.   continue to do that,” said Huang.
We are just at the starting point. [The deal will provide] so much      Several analysts and journalists alighted on the issue of regula-
more weight and resource. We will also have more to go and              tory approval.
sell, which is nice.”                                                      Huang’s first point was that for the purposes of export
    Segars also admitted he had spent some time speaking with           controls the country of origin of the technology is the relevant
customers about the deal but did not characterise their attitude        factor, not the legal location of the owner. He said ARM’s intel-
as either opposition or acceptance. “Independence is part of            lectual property would continue to be mainly registered in the
our strength. He said the combination with Nvidia will bring            UK and so the transfer of ownership from a Japanese company
more investment but there is the intent to maintain the indepen-        to a US company would make no difference.
dent business model.                                                       Callers pressed Huang as to what China’s regulatory re-
A journalist pointed out that UK government had extracted               sponse to the proposed take over is likely to be. “We’ve been
time-based legally-binding conditions on ARM’s current owner            through the regulatory process in China with Mellanox,” said
SoftBank Group Corp. when it acquired ARM for $31 billion               Huang. He added that the China regulator is pro-competition
back in 2016 and that these conditions were due to expire in            and pro-choice for the consumer. “They will love it,” he said.
2021. Had Nvidia made similar undertakings?                             This response does not explain why Chinese regulators did not
    “We’re open-minded to talk to the UK government,” said              approve Qualcomm’s proposed acquisition of NXP Semicon-
Huang before adding that the UK government should be very               ductor, which it appears may have had geopolitical overtones.
keen on the deal because of all the things Nvidia is promising          But Huang has his own experience and an undeniable enthusi-
to do in Cambridge. These include expanding ARM R&D and                 asm for the deal.
building an AI research center to house an Nvidia-ARM based                If enthusiasm were enough the deal would be done in a lot
supercomputer there.                                                    less than 18 months.

Why the Tesla Battery Day matters for Europe
By Nick Flaherty

       esla has re-engineered its battery technology and pro-           nised by politicians in the EU.
       cesses from scratch to be ready to scale production to              “For a company that’s growing rapidly its important to reduce
       TWh at sites including Berlin.                                   the supply chain, having the parts move very quickly though the
   The financial markets were distinctly underwhelmed by the            factory and then ship to the customer is vital. That’s why its im-
Tesla Battery day. After all, it was a tutorial on how to build a       portant to have a factory in each continent,” he said, highlight-
battery for an electric vehicle, and that was the point.                ing the new factory being built in Berlin, Germany, alongside
   Current battery cell manufacturing is struggling to scale –          plants in Fremont, Nevada and Shanghai.
which is why there are huge investments around the world on                “Berlin is making rapid progress, and the Model Y made in
building more battery gigafactories. Even Tesla’s own 150GWh            Berlin will be more efficient [than the ones currently built in Fre-
Gigafactory in Nevada can’t scale, says Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO          mont, California],” he said. That global manufacturing footprint
(above).                                                                means that Berlin will also add battery cell manufacturing. “We
   To reach the 120TWh energy requirements in a future of               will be manufacturing cells in Berlin,” he said.
electric vehicles requires a fundamental re-evaluation of the              The design of the battery cell design has been tweaked and
production process, he says. “The goal is TWh, tera is the new          changed to support new high volume manufacturing processes
giga ,” he said. “We need 100x growth in battery production to          that are seven times more efficient than today.
transition the global fleet of vehicles to electric.”                      This re-engineering drives up efficiencies that are the equiva-
   This has implications for Europe, which has also been recog-         lent of building seven new gigafactories, and highlights Tesla’s

6                News October 2020                            @eeNewsEurope                           
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NEWS & TECHNOLOGY                                                                             THE BATTERY CHALLENGE

strategy. While it continues to work with the large battery cell         thing by far. Creating the prototype is perhaps 10 percent of the
supplier, it is optimising its technologies and processes to pro-        challenge.”
vide the additional volume itself.                                          “The vertical integration with the machine design teams al-
    “This is a 75% reduction in investment per GWh,” said Musk.          lows us to design the machine to be one machine and remove
“We are able to get in a smaller formfactor than Giga Nevada             unnecessary steps,” he said.
many times the cell output                                                                                         One example of this is
– 1TWh in less space than                                                                                       the ‘gigapress’ that will be
150GWh. This will be produc-                                                                                    used in Berlin to press out
tion of 100GWh/yr by 2022                                                                                       the front and back of the
a3TWh/yr by 2030 for internal                                                                                   Model Y in two sections
cell production supplemental                                                                                    using Tesla’s own custom
to what we buy from our sup-                                                                                    aluminium alloy. This will use
pliers, Panasonic, CATL and                                                                                     the new batteries as part of
LG Chem. We will continue to                                                                                    the structure of the vehicle
use them as suppliers.”                                                                                         in a fundamental change to
    But it is not easy to                                                                                       the way cars are designed.
achieve this scale, and Tesla                                                                                      “We had to develop our
can only do this if it controls                                                                                 own aluminium alloy that did
the entire production chain,                                                                                    not require coating or heat
from sourcing the materials to                                                                                  treatments and that interfac-
building the cells and the end                                                                                  es to the structural battery.
vehicle.                                                                    This is quite profound,” he said.
    Tesla uses a German subsidiary to provide the manufactur-               All of this will be incorporated into the Berlin Gigafactory.
ing equipment. Tesla Grohmann Automation , headquartered in                 All the improvements announced were relatively small, from
Prüm near the border with Belgium, has also worked with BMW              5 to 20 percent, and come from going back and re-engineering
and Daimler but is now a dedicated engineering unit building             materials, design and processes from scratch. This is a huge
automation systems for Tesla globally.                                   move for the company, and put together, these changes drive
    “The difficulty of designing the machine that makes the              down the cost of battery cells, but more importantly, are de-
machine is immense compared to the vehicle itself,” said Musk.           signed to scale. This is why the changes are profound for the in-
“It’s at least 10 to 100 times harder to build the factory than the      dustry and a significant challenge for other battery cell makers.
prototype, as manufacturing of new technology is the hardest                                                     eeNews Europe         October 2020              News                  7
News - Quantum lift - eeNews Europe
NEWS & TECHNOLOGY                                                                            THE BATTERY CHALLENGE

Tesla Battery Day will mark dramatic industry shift
By Nick Flaherty

         anasonic’s role as a supplier will come under scrutiny at      cars are made in Nevada, it also ships batteries to Shanghai for
         Tesla’s battery day later this week                            Tesla’s Chinese plant, while at the same time CATL ships batter-
            The postponed Battery                                                                      ies over from China to Fremont for
Day by electric car maker Tesla this                                                                   Tesla’s other models.
week will have a profound effect on                                                                       However Tesla CEO Elon Musk
the industry. While many rumours                                                                       has said the company would
circulate about the content of the                                                                     expand its business with all three
day, one thing is certain – it will                                                                    suppliers as the sticking point is the
mark a dramatic shift in the way                                                                       availability of low cost cells. He is
the battery industry operates. This                                                                    also at pains to point out that Pana-
has consequences for the global                                                                        sonic and Tesla continue to have a
economy, as the European Union                                                                         strong partnership.
pointed out last week.                                                                                    All this highlights the move back
    No longer can battery makers develop new battery systems            to a more integrated technology stack for electric car mak-
themselves – car makers have realised that this is a key capa-          ers, where the brands control the battery technology and form
bility. Tesla commissioned leading researcher Dr Jeff Dahn at           factor and the manufacturers are added value licensees. This is
Dalhoustie University in Canada five years ago to work on new           happening with GM’s Ultium batteries, the Mercedes deal with
battery technologies, from simpler electrolytes for ‘anode free’        Faradis, VW with NorthVolt and many others, including Pana-
metal batteries to new test methodologies, and we are likely to         sonic and its joint venture with Toyota and SK Innovation with
see the results later this week.                                        Ford.
    Tesla’s $200m purchase of ultracapacitor maker Maxwell                  These are all using different battery chemistries, limiting the
Technologies similarly gives it higher efficiency dry electrode         economies of scale. One of the drives is improving the lifetime
technology for longer life time battery cells. This is potentially      of NMC (nickel, manganese, cobalt) lithium ion cells while using
behind the Million Mile battery, boosting the lifetime of the bat-      less cobalt to make them more sustainable. SK Innovation in
tery pack from 120,000 miles to day to over 1m.                         Korea for example sees this as a way to catapult it into the top
    The role of Panasonic will come under renewed scrutiny              three battery suppliers, but there are many other battery chem-
after the Battery Day. Setting up the first battery Gigafactory in      istries being used.
Nevada for Tesla’s high volume Model 3 production with its own              Similarly there are also new form factors, such as larger
technology was a bold, and expensive, move. Panasonic is only           battery cells with sahpes to assist high volume manufacturing,
just into profit on the deal, five years on. And it hasn’t given the    which is also expected to be part of the Tesla Battery Day an-
company the dominance as a supplier it expected. The automo-            nouncements.
tive division in Panasonic is still listed as ‘recovering’, and other       As a result, this approach limits the ability to build factories
Tesla suppliers such as CATL and LG Chem are looking hungrily           large enough to second source and to drive innovation that ben-
at the opportunities.                                                   efits the whole industry. The Battery Day will shift the respon-
    CATL in particular has said it has a million mile battery, al-      sibility for that innovation back onto the car makers. For Tesla,
though the technical details are limited.                               that maybe a smart move. For others, not so much.
    Panasonic’s deal is also for the one model. While most of the;

Tesla moves to cobalt-free silicon battery cell
with a new form factor
By Nick Flaherty

       esla is combining a silicon anode, cobalt-free cathode,          Panasonic will produce 150GWh a year. “We would need 135
       tabless cell design, high speed manufacturing and a new          gigafactories like that,” said Baglino.
       form factor to slash the cost of vehicle battery packs               The new cell is key to the scaling up of production. It uses a
    Electric car maker Tesla has developed a cobalt-free, silicon       tables construction with a dry electrode process acquired from
lithium ion battery cell that is says will dramatically change the      ultracapacitor maker Maxwell Technologies, with a simple sili-
way cars are powered.                                                   con anode and cobalt-free high nickel cathode. The electrolyte
    The cell is in a new, larger form factor measuring 46mm in          wasn’t mentioned though.
diameter and 80 mm long. This compares to the previous 1865                 All of this is built on a high speed continuous production line
and 2170 cells that are 18mm and 21mm in diameter.                      similar to a bottling plant. The pilot plant in Fremont California
    “We have a plan to halve the cost per kWh with engineering          has made tens of thousands of the new cells, but the yield is a
and industrialisation,” said Drew Baglino, senior vice president        problem, says Elon Mush, CEO of Tesla.
of powertrain and energy engineering, speaking at Tesla’s Bat-              “The dry coating they had was proof of concept and we
tery Day (above left).                                                  have revised the machine four times since the acquisition,” said
    This part of a plan to scale battery cell production to 20TWh       Musk. “There is still a lot of work to do to go to pilot to volume
per year. The current battery Gigafactory in Nevada built with          production, its insanely difficult to scale up, but we have made

8                News October 2020                            @eeNewsEurope                           
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NEWS & TECHNOLOGY                                                                                  A NEW EU / US BATTLE?

tens of thousands of cells. The yield is not good but there is a          vehicles], then high nickel for long range for the cybertruck and
clear path to success,” he added. “We will probably be on ma-             the semi,” said Musk.
chine revision 6 or 7 for volume production with a new rev every             The answer to how Tesla addresses the swelling of the sili-
three or 4 months.2                                                       con may well come from the packaging of the cell which will be
    The new line produces                                                                                     used as part of the structure
20GWh of batteries, 7x the                                                                                    of the vehicle, rather than in a
capacity of existing lines,                                                                                   separate battery pack.
through the high speed and                                                                                         “This has a dual use as
the higher energy density of                                                                                  energy and structure – this is
silicon.                                                                                                      quite profound,” said Musk
    The high speed produc-                                                                                    .”This allows higher packing
tion comes from the tabless                                                                                   as there is no intermediate
cell construction. Rather than                                                                                structure, so there’s more
using tabs top and bottom,                                                                                    space, the pack itself is
the substrate of the ‘jelly roll’                                                                             structural. Instead of a flame
that holds the anode, electro-                                                                                retardant filler in the pack, the
lyte and cathode has copper                                                                                   filler is structural adhesive that
edges that are laser patterned.                                                                               is also flame retardant. This
These fold over to produce                                                                                    allows shear transfer between
the connections top and bottom. This avoids having to stop and            top and bottom sheets and this gives stiffness. We use the steel
start the line to insert the tabs                                         shell case of the battery to transfer the shear,” he said.
    Using silicon provides higher energy density but suffers                 In this case the steel of the cell casing could be significantly
from cracking. “Silicon stores 9x more lithium than graphite              thicker to be used as structure and to prevent the casing burst-
but expands 4x when fully charged,” said Baglino. “Current                ing when it swells.
approaches use engineered silicon materials and don’t scale –                It is this combination of new materials and new processes
what we are proposing is a step change in capability and cost.            from the mining to the final testing that is the way to reduce the
We use the base silicon, which costs $1.2/kWh, and stabilise              overall cost of the cell and the battery pack, say Baglino and
the surface with an elastic ion-conducting polymer coating, then          Musk. This halves the pack cost per kWh (by 56 percent), al-
use a highly elastic binder.”                                             though Tesla doesn’t give a cost. Current cell costs are already
    Tesla is also mining its own lithium in Nevada using a saline         under $150/kWh, so the overall pack cost for Tesla would be
process, and will build a cathode plant nearby. This will build           well under $100/kWh. This allows a lower cost electric vehicle
cathodes with no cobalt with a variety of other materials such            platform.
as iron and manganese that it already uses. Cutting out cobalt               “It will take us a year to 18 months to start to realise the ad-
avoids sustainability and ethical production issues.                      vantages and probably about 3 years overall but this bodes well
    “This uses metal powder directly, eliminates billions in battery      for the future,” said Musk. “We are confident we can design and
grade nickel production, with simpler mining and simpler recy-            manufacture a compelling $25,000 vehicle three years from now
cling,” said Baglino. “We want to make sure we are not con-               that’s also fully autonomous with an EV powertrain that costs
strained by nickel supply but we need a three tier approach with          less than a combustion engine.”
iron [for stationary storage], Nickel Manganese [for mid range  

European chip firms concerned over US export controls
By Peter Clarke

       he European Semiconductor Industry Association (ESIA)              istration’s effort to take control of global chip exports. The SEMI
       has expressed concern about tightening US export con-              and SIA organizations did so back in April (see Semiconduc-
       trol measures and has asked for increased dialogue.                tor industry pushes back against US export controls ). ESIA
    The US has instituted unilateral export controls requiring all        includes both European headquartered chip companies such as
semiconductors designed or made with US technology to be                  Infineon, NXP, STMicroelectronics and X-Fab but also overseas-
licensed for export to certain entities.                                                              headquartered chip companies with
Even though much IC design work is                                                                    a significent European presence such
done outside the US, design tools and                                                                 as Intel, Globalfoundries, Renesas and
manufacturing tools from the US are                                                                   Texas Instruments.
more or less a necessity to complete                                                                      “Export controls should be transpar-
chips.                                                                                                ent and accountable to serve as tools
    ESIA has issued a statement say-                                                                  of global non-proliferation and be mul-
ing that it is concerned that, following                                                              tilateral to be effective for that purpose.
the US announcement of 17 August                                                                      ESIA would welcome a discussion on
2020, the export control measures                                                                     export control measures between the
will have “have significant impact and                                                                US administration and international
bring disruption to the global semi-                                                                  partners such as the European Union,”
conductor industry.”                                                      said ESIA in its statement.
    ESIA is not the first organization to protest at the US admin-                                                   eeNews Europe          October 2020              News                   9
News - Quantum lift - eeNews Europe
NEWS & TECHNOLOGY                                                                 TRADE WAR GRIPS ELECTRONICS

US looks to add SMIC to trade embargo
By Peter Clarke

       he US government is considering including Chinese               world’s largest semiconductor manufacturing equipment sup-
       foundry Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp.         plier. Also at the leading-edge ASML Holding NV (Bilthoven, The
       (SMIC) in its ban on the supply US technology, according        Netherlands) is a monopoly supplier of the extreme ultra violet
to a Reuters report.                                                                               (EUV) lithography equipment required
    This extension of the trade black-                                                             to make chips at 5nm and below.
list would come after administration                                                                   ASML and most other companies
of President Trump has effectively                                                                 in the west are operating in line with
cut Chinese communications equip-                                                                  US requirements on supplying China.
ment company Huawei off from                                                                           Applying the licensing requirement
its sources of ICs by including the                                                                to SMIC would bring China’s move
company on its “entity list.”.                                                                     towards self-sufficiency and global
    Reuters cited a spokeswoman                                                                    significance in semiconductors under
at the Department of Defense as its                                                                tight US control.
source. Such a move would force                                                                        Although such an embargo would
US and other suppliers to seek a                                                                   not cause the immediate closure of
special license before supplying                                                                   SMIC, a lack of on-going support
goods and services to the company.                                     and spares for equipment would have an impact on productiv-
    Although SMIC cannot yet supply leading-edge ICs, with             ity. In the medium to longer term it could cause SMIC to change
its highest performance chips being at about the 14nm FinFET           its methods of manufacturing and what it is able to make.
node, it is China’s best hope of moving towards self-sufficiency           The news caused SMIC’s share price to fall by 20 percent
in leading-edge semiconductors in the long term.                       when it opened Monday September 7. However, due to the
    Many US companies are key providers of semiconductor               strong run on the shares after they opened on the Shanghai
manufacturing equipment and no leading-edge wafer fab can              stock market the price has only fallen back to where it was on
operate without these. US company Applied Materials is the             June 1.

Trade war risks for wafer supply
By Nick Flaherty

        he US-China trade war risks the global supply chain,              Like Global Foundries, de Winter is also looking at local
        particularly for the supply of wafers, says the chief execu-   financial support, whether that is called co-investment or sub-
        tives of Global Foundries and X-Fab.                           sidy, particularly with the US Creating Helpful Incentives to Pro-
    “We need a little more balance in the supply chain,” said Tom      duce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act signed in June.
Caulfield, CEO of Global Foundries. “Wafer supply is dominated            “In all the locations where we are active we are using local
by Taiwan.” GF has 300mm fabs in the US and Ger-                                    measures to support our activities and if you look
many, as well as a 200mm fab in Singapore.                                          at the CHIPS Act to stimulate US business that is
    That view is reflected by European foundry X-                                   well aligned with our activities in Lubbock [Texas].
Fab, which also has a fab in the US at Lubbock,                                     The CHIPS Act is a good thing for semiconductor
Texas.                                                                              industry and particularly for the US semiconductor
    “The evolution of the global politics and the                                   companies, so we look forward to see how that can
whole trade war is of course not good for the semi-                                 help our growth in Lubbock.”
conductor industry and for industry overall as it puts                                  European locations need the same kind of sup-
in barriers and that’s not good,” said Rudi de Winter                               port, he says.
CEO of German foundry X-fab (above). “At the same                                       “I hope it will be complemented as there is the
time it drives changes and that maybe opens up op-                                  same awareness in Europe that things need to hap-
portunities but overall is more negative than positive                              pen but not in the same proportion as the US. There
    “There are in certain areas definitely concentra-                               is support and awareness but it could be further
tions that could pose risks,” he said in agreement. “We source         stepped up, and the European community is not always help-
wafers all regions in the world – we have a wide diversity of          ing, in particular the rules on subsidy are very strict and that is
technologies from more mature on 6in and 8in wafers, but we            hindering strategic area like semiconductors that has a huge
don’t have particular problems but we do see the whole evolu-          leveraging effect on the overall industry. They are essential. A lot
tion of the trade war as an obstacle to doing business when            of our industrial equipment depends on semiconductors and if
people should be focussing on growing business and removing            these trade barriers are going to make things more difficult we
barriers.”                                                             need to make sure we continue to have access to state of the
    STMicroelectronics has also been securing its supply chain         art technologies.”
for its specialist wafers, with deals to buy wafer makers Norstel         “We need an even playing field around the world, and we
for silicon carbide (SiC) and ExaGaN for gallium nitride (GaN).        should look at what the other regions of the world like China are
It works with TSMC in Taiwan for mainstream silicon process            doing. I am not in favour in general of subsidies but we need an
technologies.                                                          even playing field so we need to find the right balance,” he said.

10               News October 2020                           @eeNewsEurope                           
NEWS & TECHNOLOGY                                                                                       IBM PUSHES QUBIT

Globalfoundries ready for US government co-investment
By Peter Clarke

        om Caulfield, CEO of Globalfoundries Inc., has expressed         market competition decide who the winners and losers are. But
        support for US government plans to stimulate domestic            countries are not doing that. They are treating semiconductors
        chip manufacturing with capital.                                                    as strategic and the US is realizing we have
    Speaking ahead of his company’s virtual                                                 to do the same. That’s what the CHIPS Act is
Global Technology Conference, Caulfield spoke                                               about.”
of a global semiconductor supply chain imbal-                                                   Caulfield continued: “We are growing our
ance and Taiwanese dominance of global wafer                                                global footprint. We are accelerating growth
production. “We need a little more balance in                                               and we will decide how best to do that.” He
the supply chain,” he said while observing that                                             said Globalfoundries has already invested
US-headquartered companies serve 47 percent                                                 billions of dollars in US manufacturing and
of the total chip market but only 12 percent of                                             asked who is better placed than Globalfound-
the world’s chips are manufactured in the US.                                               ries to invest further funds under US govern-
    In recent months there have been political                                              ment policy.
moves to use US tax payers’ money to support                                                    When asked if Globalfoundries was still
domestic chip manufacturing.                                                                on course to stage an initial public offer-
    When asked if Globalfoundries could benefit from US                  ing of shares in the company, despite problems such as the
government subsidies and use them to expand manufacturing                Covid-19 pandemic, Caulfield said: “We have conviction. There
or even build an additional wafer fab, Caulfield said: “I don’t          are certain metrics you have to meet. Can you meet the top-line
like the word subsidy. It sounds like a government hand-out. I           [revenue] you want? We’re on-track for a late 2022 IPO.”
prefer co-investment. It used to be the case that we let open- 

IBM aims for million qubit quantum computer
By Nick Flaherty

    BM has launched its roadmap for quantum computing, aim-              processor to our IBM Q Network members,” said Gambetta.
    ing to deliver a system with 1000 qubits by 2023. This will             This device features 8:1 readout multiplexing, combining
    form the basis of systems with millions of qubits.                   readout signals from eight qubits into one, reducing the total
   The 1000 qubit system in 2023 will have addressed the scal-           amount of wiring and components required for readout and
ability challenges for much larger systems, says IBM.                    improving the ability to scale. IBM says it has also significantly
   “We think [this] will take us from the noisy, small-scale devic-      reduced the signal processing latency time in the associated
es of today to the million-plus qubit devices of the future,” said       control system in preparation for upcoming feedback and feed-
Jay Gambetta, IBM Fellow and Vice President of IBM Quantum.              forward system capabilities. This will allow control of the qubits
“Our hardware roadmap sits at the heart of a larger mission,             based on classical conditions while the quantum circuit runs.
to design a full-stack quantum                                                                                 “Next year, we’ll debut our
computer deployed via the cloud                                                                             127-qubit IBM Quantum Eagle
that anyone around the world                                                                                processor,” said Gametta. Eagle
can program,” said Gambetta.                                                                                includes through-silicon vias
   The IBM system is based                                                                                  (TSVs) and multi-level wiring to
around the electronic quantum                                                                               effectively fan-out a large density
states of artificial atoms known                                                                            of classical control signals while
as superconducting transmon                                                                                 protecting the qubits in a sepa-
qubits, which are connected and                                                                             rated layer in order to maintain
manipulated by sequences of                                                                                 high coherence times. This will
microwave pulses in order to run these circuits.                         also include concurrent real-time classical compute capabili-
   The company has been working on superconducting qubits                ties that will allow for execution of a broader family of quantum
since the mid-2000s, increasing coherence times and decreas-             circuits and codes.
ing errors to enable multi-qubit devices in the early 2010s. It             All of this is in preparation for the 433-qubit Osprey system in
now has over 24 stable systems on the IBM Cloud for clients              2022, to be followed by 1,121-qubit Condor processor in 2023.
and the general public to experiment on. These include the               This will require larger cooling systems. The 3.3 x 2m (10 x 6ft)
5-qubit Canary processors and 27-qubit Falcon processors.                “super-fridge,” internally codenamed “Goldeneye,” is designed
   The 1000 qubit device, IBM Quantum Condor, will be                    with a million-qubit system in mind.
launched by the end of 2023 and to house larger systems IBM                 “We think of Condor as an inflection point, a milestone that
is developing a dilution refrigerator larger than any currently          marks our ability to implement error correction and scale up
available commercially.                                                  our devices, while simultaneously complex enough to explore
   “Simultaneous to our efforts to improve our smaller devices,          potential quantum advantages—problems that we can solve
we are also incorporating the many lessons learned into an               more efficiently on a quantum computer than on the world’s
aggressive roadmap for scaling to larger systems. This month             best supercomputers,” said Gambetta.
we quietly released our 65-qubit IBM Quantum Hummingbird                                                         eeNews Europe          October 2020             News                 11
NEWS & TECHNOLOGY                                                                               QUBIT IN AUTOMOTIVE

Study: How the automotive industry will benefit
from quantum computing
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

          uantum computers are far from being technically ma-             Near-term opportunities for QC – for the time frame through
          ture, but practical applications are already emerging. In   2025 – are expected to surface in product development and
          particular, the automotive industry could benefit greatly   R&D. Relevant use cases will primarily relate to solving simple
from the use of these machines. The consulting firm McKinsey          optimization problems or involve parallel data processing for
has investigated where the potential lies.                            simple quantum artificial-intelligence/machine- learning (AI/
    After companies such as IBM with its Q System One or              ML) algorithms. These QC applications will be executed as part
D-Wave Technologies made headlines in recent years with sup-          of a hybrid solution, where bits of a larger problem, processed
posedly usable quantum computers, various companies in the            by a High-Performance Computer (HPC), are outsourced to
automotive value chain have taken a closer look at this technol-      a quantum computer and results are fed back into the HPC
ogy - the promises made by manufacturers were too seductive.          flow. Possible optimization use cases include the combinatorial
According to their pledges, quantum computers are ideal for           optimization of multichannel logistics, highly local traffic-flow
solving certain problems that the best scientists have long been      optimization, and improvements in vehicle routing. Quantum
brooding over, such as route optimisation, fuel cell optimisation     AI/ML might involve the time-efficient training of autonomous-
and the durability of materials.                                                    driving algorithms due to an increase in the parallel
    According to the McKinsey study, some of                                        processing of large amounts of data.
these early users have already achieved a certain                                       In the midterm – that is, the timeframe from
success. Volkswagen, for example, has teamed                                        2025 through 2030 – the authors expect the QC
up with D-Wave to develop a traffic management                                      activities in the automotive industry will focus on
system that optimises the routes of buses in urban                                  things like simulations (heat and mass transfer,
traffic. The automotive supplier Bosch has invested                                 fluid dynamics as well as material properties at
$21 million in the start-up company Zapata Com-                                     the atomic level – relevant for the development of
puting (Cambridge, Massachusetts).                                                  battery and fuel cell materials). In addition, more
    However, the reluctance still far outweighs the                                 complex city traffic simulations could become
commitment to this innovative computing technol-                                    possible as well as solving large-scale multimodal
ogy, write the authors of the McKinsey study. The                                   fleet routing problems. Plus, the capability of more
novelty of the technology and the still very narrow                                 advanced quantum computers to process large
market have so far discouraged many companies                                       amounts of data will help engineers and develop-
from intensively engaging in quantum computing.                                     ers to implement solutions for enhanced pattern
It will take another five to ten years before this technology has     recognition.
become established in the long term. By then, quantum com-                In the long run, that is from 2030 onward, quantum- com-
puting will have overcome several hurdles: Quantum Supremacy          puting applications will build on at-scale access to universal
must be achieved; the practical benefit must be proven be-            quantum computers, the experts estimate. Prime factorization
yond doubt; application software must be available to solve           algorithms to break common encryption keys will therefore be
concrete problems; and above all, a Quantum Turing Machine            universally available. The focus will likely move toward digi-
must be available. The latter means that a universally applicable     tal security and risk mitigation as players try to prevent the
quantum architecture with quantum memory and conventional             quantum hacking of communications in autonomous vehicles,
main memory (RAM) must be available. Such a machine, as               on-board electronics, and the Industrial IoT. Cloud-hosted
described by the experts at McKinsey, will be able to work with       navigation systems of shared-mobility fleets will improve their
the number of qubits required by the users and execute arbi-          coverage algorithms through regular training enabled by quan-
trary algorithms. Such a machine will be available in one to two      tum computing. Other promising fields of application include
decades, the study says.                                              investigating and optimizing crash behaviour, cabin soundproof-
    The automotive industry will be one of the primary value          ing or training for AI-based autonomous driving algorithms.
pools for QC, with a high impact noticeable by about 2025.                Such applications require a steep maturing process for
Most of the early value added will come from solving complex          the QC industry. The McKinsey experts admit that today it is
optimization problems, including processing vast amounts of           unclear how the QC hardware industry will be able to reach this
data to accelerate learning in autonomous-vehicle-navigation          degree of maturity, but they see a number of possible ways.
algorithms. In later years, QC has the potential to have a posi-      For instance, existing QC approaches will evolve over time. QC
tive effect on many areas in the automotive industry, such as         will establish itself as a cloud service, which will relieve users of
vehicle routing and route optimization, material and process          the need to acquire and run their own hardware. Similarly, the
research, and the security of connected driving. Moreover, QC         market researchers expect that the QC software will evolve –
can also provide a boost to automotive players transitioning          with the difference that in contrast to hardware where almost all
into the electric-vehicle (EV) era by notably accelerating R&D        competencies are concentrated in the US, European players will
of novel technologies. For instance, companies can speed the          also become relevant.
transition of their more traditional technology spectrum towards          While many uncertainties persist, the analysts express
more relevant technologies such as cooling of EV batteries.           optimism that most of the problems ahead will be solved within
Likewise, the simulation of material process research for batter-     the time frame specified. For 2030, they expect an economic
ies and fuel cells could be a field where QC could be deployed        impact of these technologies in the automotive industry alone of
with a chance of success.                                             some $2 billion to $3 billion by 2030.

12               News October 2020                          @eeNewsEurope                           

UK buys Rigetti quantum
computer in £10m deal
By Nick Flaherty

       he UK is to buy a quantum computer from Rigetti Computing as part of a £10m
       (€11.2m) project to provide a cloud quantum computing service housed at
       Harwell, Oxfordshire.
   The Rigetti quantum computer system will be hosted at the newly announced
National Quantum Computer Centre in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Rigetti has also devel-
oped a cloud-based platform allowing computer programmers to write quantum al-
gorithms and will work alongside Oxford Instruments, Standard Chartered and Bristol
and London-based quantum software start-up Phasecraft, as well as the University of
   A Rigetti superconducting quantum computer is already commercially available in
the Amazon Web Service (AWS) Bracket cloud, alongside other US-based systems
using different approaches from D-Wave and IonQ.
   The UK government expects quantum computing to provide £4 billion of economic                   Increased Performance
opportunities globally by 2024, while in the coming decades productivity gains result-
                                              ing from quantum computing are expect-               for Connected
                                              ed to surpass over £341 billion globally.
                                                 “Our ambition is to be the world’s first
                                              quantum-ready economy, which could
                                              provide UK businesses and industries
                                                                                                   Designed to perform in high
                                              with billions of pounds worth of oppor-
                                              tunities. Therefore, I am delighted that             vibration environments
                                              companies across the country will have
                                                                                                   With surface mount solder tabs for
                                              access to our first commercial quantum
                                              computer, to be based in Abingdon,” said             additional board retention strength,
                                              UK Science Minister Amanda Solloway.                 Archer Kontrol can withstand lateral
                                                 “This a key part of our plan to build
                                              back better using the latest technology,             and twisting forces in high vibration
                                              attract the brightest and best talent to the         environments.
                                              UK and encourage world-leading compa-
nies to invest here,” she said.                                                                    Ensuring reliability in the next
   “We are excited to deliver the UK’s first quantum computer and help accelerate                  generation of connected devices.
the development of practical algorithms and applications,” said Chad Rigetti, CEO of
Rigetti Computing.                                                                                 n Temperature range of
   There are currently only a small number of quantum computing platforms being                       -55°C to +125°C
developed around the world – presenting an opportunity for the UK to be at the fore-
front of this technology. The activities announced today will help promote quantum                 n Assists with blind mating
computing across the UK economy, providing businesses with the best opportunity to
                                                                                                   n Tested to perform up to
take advantage of these new technologies in the years to come.
                                                                                                      500 operations
   The £93m Centre, first announced in 2018, will bring together academia, busi-
nesses and the government to address key challenges to quantum computing, such                     n Up to 3 Gbit/s data rate
as scaling-up the technology and making it commercially viable and exploring how to
create economic value.
   Working closely with industry and the research community, the Centre will also
provide businesses and research institutions with access to quantum computers as         
they are developed around the world and grow the UK’s thriving quantum computing
   “Quantum computers are extraordinary new tools with the potential to allow us
to tackle previously insurmountable challenges, promising benefits for all of society
through applications in areas such as drug discovery and traffic optimisation,” said
Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, chief executive of UK Research and Innovation.                       Connect with confidence
   “The National Quantum Computing Centre will tackle the key bottlenecks in
quantum computing by bringing together experts from across the UK’s outstanding
research and innovation system from academia and industry to unlock the potential of
this exciting new technology,” she added.
   “The next steps initiating centre recruitment and commissioning technology work
packages are very welcome tangible steps as the centre moves from initialisation and
conceptual design to facility construction and operational delivery,” said Dr Michael
Cuthbert, director of the National Quantum Computing Centre Director.                                                eeNews Europe            October 2020              News                13
NEWS & TECHNOLOGY                                                                                             QUBIT & IOT

Breakthrough for quantum key distribution networks
By Nick Flaherty

         esearchers at the Quantum Engineering Technology            (IQOQI), in Vienna, and China’s National University of Defence
         (QET) Labs in Bristol have built a multiplexed eight user   Technology (NUDT) in Changsha.
         quantum key distribution system with just eight receiv-        The team used multiplexing to develop an eight user system
ers, a fraction of the current requirement for QKD networks          with eight transceivers, rather than the 56 that would previously
    An international team of                                                                          be needed for each user to have
researchers has developed the                                                                         a point to point link. The receivers
first distributed QKD network                                                                         were connected to optical fibres
for sharing quantum keys in a                                                                         via different locations across
breakthrough design.                                                                                  Bristol and the ability to transmit
    So far, quantum key distribu-                                                                     messages via quantum communi-
tion has been point to point,                                                                         cation was tested using the city’s
even over satellites, but this                                                                        existing optical fibre network.
limits the use in a network. The                                                                         “Besides being completely
multiplexed photonic quantum                                                                          secure, the beauty of this new
key distribution (QKD) system, published in Science Advances ,       technique is its streamline agility, which requires minimal hard-
supports eight users and can be easily scaled up.                    ware because it integrates with existing technology,” said Joshi.
    “This represents a massive breakthrough and makes the               The network was created within months for less than
quantum internet a much more realistic proposition,” said            £300,000, enabling secure networks for a fraction of the cost
Dr Siddarth Joshi, who headed the project at the Quantum             today. The system also features traffic management, delivering
Engineering Technology (QET) Labs at the University of Bristol,      better network control which allows, for instance, certain users
UK. “Until now, building a quantum network has entailed huge         to be prioritised with a faster connection.
cost, time, and resource, as well as often compromising on its          “With these economies of scale, the prospect of a quantum
security which defeats the whole purpose.”                           internet for universal usage is much less far-fetched. We have
    “Our solution is scalable, relatively cheap and, most im-        proved the concept and by further refining our multiplexing
portant of all, impregnable. That means it’s an exciting game        methods to optimise and share resources in the network, we
changer and paves the way for much more rapid development            could be looking at serving not just hundreds or thousands, but
and widespread rollout of this technology,” he said.                 potentially millions of users in the not too distant future,” said
    Photonic QKD systems use entangled photons to ensure an          Joshi.
encryption key is not intercepted.                                      “The ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic have not
    “Until now efforts to expand the network have involved vast      only shown importance and potential of the internet, and our
infrastructure and a system which requires the creation of an-       growing dependence on it, but also how its absolute security is
other transmitter and receiver for every additional user. Sharing    paramount. Multiplexing entanglement could hold the vital key
messages in this way, known as trusted nodes, is just not good       to making this security a much-needed reality.”
enough because it uses so much extra hardware which could               The research received funding from the Quantum Communi-
leak and would no longer be totally secure.”                         cations Hubs of the Engineering and Physical Science Research
    The team includes researchers from the UK’s University           Council (EPSRC), Ministry of Science and Education (MSE) of
of Leeds, Croatia’s Ruder Boskovic Institute (RBI) in Zagreb,        Croatia, and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).
Austria’s Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information

Sigfox sells German IoT network in European restructure
By Nick Flaherty

       igfox alliance with Cube Infrastructure Managers sees         owned directly such as Germany but most owned by partners
       restructuring to create Europe’s largest IoT network          such as Heliot, called Sigfox Operators. These operators are
          French network operator Sigfox has sold its German         the owners of the networks, which they operate as exclusive
low power, long range network for the Internet of Things (IoT) to    connectivity providers of Sigfox IoT services, offering worldwide
a fund manager to raise cash.                                        connectivity to customers.
   The deal with fund manager Cube Infrastructure Managers               Cube sees the deal as bringing together the networks of all
(Cube) is pitched as strategic alliance, as it is also buying a      four countries to create the largest IoT network in Europe. The
majority stake in Heliot Europe, the owner and operator of the       aim is to accelerate the growth of this essential and exclusive
Sigfox networks in Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, to        IoT infrastructure in the region in joint venture with the operating
create a Europe-wide IoT network.                                    management of the networks, which retains a minority stake in
   The value of the German sale was not disclosed but it will        Heliot Europe.
allow Sigfox to finance its continued innovation efforts in data         “The acquisition of Sigfox Germany is a key milestone in
value extraction and improvements in cloud algorithms to re-         our development and we will pursue commercial development
duce energy consumption and allow the implementation of even         initiated by Sigfox Germany with tier one customers in the
more cost-effective devices and sensors says the company             country and beyond, in retail, automotive and logistics,” said
   Sigfox has networks in 72 countries and regions, some             Thomas Scheibel, CEO at Heliot. “This combined network from

14               News October 2020                         @eeNewsEurope                           
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