The EPSRC Quantum Communications Hub is a synergistic partnership of ten UK universities (Bristol, Cambridge, Glasgow, Heriot Watt, Kent, Oxford, Queen’s at Belfast, Sheffield, Strathclyde, and the lead – York), numerous private sector companies (ADVA, ArQit, BT, ID Quantique, National Physical Laboratory, Teledyne e2v amongst others) and public sector bodies (National Dark Fibre Facility, RAL Space – part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council) that have come together in a unique collaboration to exploit fundamental laws of quantum physics for the development of secure communications technologies and services.
The Quantum Communications Hub is part of a national network of four hubs led by the Universities of Birmingham, Glasgow, Oxford and York. The hubs represent the core investment of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme, which aims to provide a test bed for the successful translation of quantum science into mainstream technological applications for economic benefit.
Over the last five years, the vision of the original Hub consortium (comprising the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge, Heriot Watt, Leeds, Royal Holloway, Sheffield, Strathclyde, and the lead York, plus many private companies and public sector bodies) has been to develop quantum secure communications technologies for new markets, enabling widespread use and adoption.
The theme of the new phase of the Hub is one of expansion, delivering quantum secured communication technologies at all distance scales and offering a range of applications and services with the potential for integration with existing infrastructure.
Encryption and decryption methods are needed that are not vulnerable to quantum computer attack. One approach is to utilise shared keys – for encryption and decryption – and cryptographic techniques immune to such attack. Then the security is determined by the security of the key distribution mechanism.
Quantum Technologies are new disruptive sectors in which the UK has world-leading research, that now needs to be turned into cutting-edge development and manufacturing for the UK to gain return on its investment.
The Hub comprises the UK’s academic leaders in quantum communications, complemented by the country’s foremost photonic networks and information security researchers, in strong partnership with several of the world’s leading industrial players.