One of the application areas of quantum technologies is secure communication. A research team led by Dr. Tobias Vogl is addressing this topic in the project "QuVeKS - Quantum Processors for Encrypted Communication with Satellites".
What is remarkable about the project idea? The goal is an "universally applicable quantum circuit", since quantum systems currently being researched are very application-specific and often cannot be interconnected with other systems. Together with the CiS Forschungsinstitut für Mikrosensorik GmbH in Erfurt the researchers combine the complete architecture of quantum logic - consisting of quantum light sources, waveguide technology and quantum detectors - on a compact chip. This chip could then be freely programmed and thus used for a wide variety of applications. "For example, such a device could be used in quantum cryptography, making the encryption of terrestrial and extraterrestrial communications more secure and better, since quantum states can neither be copied nor read out exactly," explains Dr. Tobias Vogl. "Physically secure random generators would also be conceivable with such a quantum chip."
The research groups led by Prof. Dr. Stefan Nolte and from Fraunhofer IOF are responsible for inscribing the specific waveguides using UKP lasers, and the team from Erfurt is providing support in the technological implementation of the detector electronics.
This project outline was also convincing in the competition of the "INNOspace" initiative of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and was awarded the 400,000 Euro "INNOspace Masters Award" due to pandemic reasons online. This award is intended to promote innovative ideas and concepts that improve technologies, processes and applications through knowledge and technology transfer between space and other fields. This year, the thematic focus was on digital sustainability and security in space (e.g. protection against cyber attacks) as well as resource-saving approaches in space and on Earth sought.