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June 14, 2016

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QKD in Space: Satellite QKD Technologies Workshop

The Quantum Communications Hub held a specialist workshop in early June on satellite quantum key distribution at ECSAT – European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications – the European Space Agency’s new UK facility at Harwell. The workshop was focused on the use of satellite communications for quantum key distribution – a combination of technologies that offers possibilities for quantum-secure communications over very large distances.

The aim of the workshop was to bring together the leading figures from the international academic community, industrial/commercial interests, and public stake-holders from both the EU and UK. Presenters included the pre-eminent satellite QKD specialists Paulo Villoresi (University of Padova), Rupert Ursin (Vienna Centre for Quantum Science & Technology), and Thomas Jennewein (University of Waterloo), as well as experts from Airbus, BT, the European Space Agency, ID Quantique, and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light. Participants included the UK’s National Physical Laboratory, the Satellite Applications Catapult, and the EU’s Joint Research Centre, as well as Hub university and industry partners.

The workshop is part of a Hub initiative to explore options for active UK participation in collaborative satellite QKD R&D that will contribute to demonstrations / pilots in which there is global scientific and commercial interest.