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November 30, 2017

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Quantum Communications Hub demonstrates technology advances

Quantum Communications Hub demonstrates technology advances at 2017 National Quantum Technologies Showcase

The 2017 National Quantum Technologies Showcase took place on 22 November at the QEII Conference Centre in central London. The third such meeting of its kind, the showcase is the flagship user engagement event of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme, aimed at highlighting the commercial potential of the emerging technologies for the UK and global economy to representatives of government and industry. This year’s event attracted over 600 delegates and included nearly 60 technology demonstrators, covering multiple sectors of the economy: transport, healthcare, defence and security, components and heavy industry, finance, space and communications and future networks.

The Quantum Communications Hub contributed to the organisation of the event, led this year by the EPSRC, and took part with a number of technology demonstrators led by experimental colleagues at the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge and York, as well as industrial partners Toshiba Research Europe Ltd, BT and ADVA. Our exhibits ranged across the sectors: (i) integrated photonics in the form of chip-based quantum key distribution (QKD), offering distinct commercial advantages in terms of enhanced functionality and cost-effective manufacturing; (ii) quantum keys used as a network resource, demonstrating the adaptive functionalities and agile network capabilities resulting from combining QKD security with existing software defined networks (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV) principles; (iii) low-cost, short-range QKD for use on handheld devices, enabling cryptographic interaction with ATM-like terminals; (iv) an optical fibre-based transmitter and receiver system for exchanging classical and quantum signals using single laser pulse, for monitoring eavesdropping and generating secure keys for cryptographic purposes; (v) a demonstration of securing data centre links with quantum cryptography over optical fibre networks; (vi) an exhibit highlighting work on the UKQNTel project, the extension arm of the UK’s Quantum Network linking major R&D and business clusters in Cambridge with and Adastral Park via optical fibre.

To find out more about the specific activities of the Hub as well as the wider national investment in quantum technologies, please visit the project website.