Toshiba Research Europe Ltd.

TREL’s prototype Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) system delivers digital keys for cryptographic applications on fibre optic networks.

TREL are already making inroads into markets where data needs to stay confidential beyond the advent of quantum computers.

For example, they are working in Japan to protect human genome data. The genome data is collected and analysed by a Toshiba company and shared with a data bank in another part of city over a quantum secured link. Andrew Shields, Assistant Managing Director at Toshiba Research Europe, says:

“People would like their genome to remain private for at least their lifetime, if not that of their descendants’ also. With quantum computers possibly only a decade away, such information should be encrypted with quantum safe techniques now. QKD is an attractive solution for this challenge.”

“Through working with the Hub and other partners we have been able to develop various applications as well as standards for network integration,”

says Shields. The Hub has also benefitted from TREL’s world leading QKD equipment, which has been demonstrated to deliver the world record for the highest secure key rate, at 13Mb/s. Faster key rates are important as it means more secure keys can be formed or refreshed, speeding the processing of encrypted information.

Right now, the price of QKD technology means that it is mainly used in corporate networks.  However, TREL are working in another project funded by Innovate UK to dramatically lower the size and cost of the technology using photonic chips.  This will open many new markets and may even be used in home consumer applications in the coming years.

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