Led by the Quantum Communications Hub, the UK is playing a significant role in the ongoing development of research-led quantum solutions to the challenges of transmitting and receiving secure keys between space and the Earth, in a manner that will facilitate viable commercial services for long distance quantum-secure communications.
The Hub is focussed on quantum technologies that provide the performance and security that would underpin such viability. This includes the hardware – quantum sources and receivers – but also the protocols essential to make optimal use of them. In addition, the Hub continues to develop quantum technologies for terrestrial fibre networks, which remain an essential means of distributing quantum keys to users on the ground, irrespective of where the keys have originated. The Hub is also exploring quantum-secure communications from the stratosphere on High Altitude Platforms (HAPs) which can both complement satellite delivery, and provide specific advantages for specialist applications.