The high level objective of the current (2019-2024) phase of our Hub is the development of quantum communications technologies at all distance scales, pursuing integration between these technologies and with conventional communications infrastructure. New applications and services can define and serve new markets, enabling widespread use and adoption – from government and commerce through to consumers and the home. Along wider strategic goals, our vision is supported through the following set of technical objectives:
- Having already established the first UK Quantum Network (UKQN), we are working to expand this, increase its capabilities and use it as a testbed for our technologies and integration.
- We are developing new (continuous variable, CV) QKD technologies based on quantum-level versions of conventional light signals; initially focused on fibre, but with space applications also being considered.
- We are developing new QKD technologies based on entanglement, to remove certain side-channels and work towards quantum repeaters.
- We are expanding development of short-range, hand-held QKD systems for consumers and individuals, to include pointing and tracking capabilities.
- We are developing new QKD receivers and transmitters suitable for space, along with their respective ground station and cube-sat hosts.
- We are exploring development of chip-based “next generation” quantum communications.
- We are investigating new protocols – beyond QKD – to widen the solution space for quantum communications.
- We are establishing UK capability in specific source and detector components required for quantum communications.
- We are undertaking work in hacking and side-channels, while considering potential vulnerabilities across all technical areas, in hardware, software and systems.
- We are continuing our standards work with partner NPL leading metrology activities across the Hub scope, working towards assurance of performance and security, and providing input for subsequent work on new standards (via ETSI).
- We are exploring the potential of hybrid quantum and conventional security solutions, in collaboration with conventional mathematical security expertise, to investigate incorporation of our QKD (and beyond) technologies into wider “quantum safe” solutions.