22 September 2023

Cyber security is becoming increasingly important, and so-called quantum encryption will ensure the security of sensitive information – but this new technology has to be tested outside the lab environment. Linköping University is therefore taking part in a project studying secure communication channels of the future. 

Blue laser in dark laboratory. Quantum communication is a branch of the quantum technology tree, where improved cyber security is an important use. iStockphoto

“We’ll be able to work with new experiments to develop completely new forms of secure communication based on quantum technology,” says Guilherme B Xavier, researcher in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Linköping University.

He is leading one of the work packages in a newly formed consortium called the National Quantum Communication Infrastructure in Sweden, NQCIS. This consortium gathers experts in quantum encryption and quantum communication at LiU, Chalmers, Stockholm University and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, which also coordinates the project. Funding was granted early this year, but only recently the participants signed the consortium agreement under which LiU will receive approximately SEK 18 million (of a total of SEK 100 million) over a period of almost three years.

Tested in the real world

The main objective is to show how quantum communication equipment can be used in the future.

Quantum communication is a branch of the quantum technology tree, where improved cyber security is an important use. In theory, quantum communication can be perfectly secure, but in practice many things are still uncertain.Guilherme B Xavier.Guilherme B Xavier, associate professor at the division of Information Coding. Photo credit Magnus Johansson

“A lot of research right now is focusing on studying these problems and how to solve them. It’s also important to show that the technology can be used in the real world, and not just in the lab,” says Guilherme B Xavier.

Collaboration with the industry

The consortium will set up a total of five nodes; four in the Stockholm area and one in Linköping, to test long-range quantum communication. This is something that Guilherme B Xavier finds vital to his research:

“This type of infrastructure is extremely expensive, both to acquire and to maintain. That’s why this is feasible only through large project financing.”

In addition to the universities mentioned, the companies Ericsson, Quantum Scopes and Qucertify are involved in the project, which is part of a major EU initiative. The project is funded by the European Commission, Vinnova and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation through the Wallenberg Centre for Quantum Technology.

Similar projects will be carried out in all EU countries, and it is hoped that in the future it will be possible to connect the national quantum communication networks to form a shared European network.

Read more at nqcis.eu



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