ESA’s Quantum Technology – Implementations for Space Workshop

The 2nd workshop on “Quantum Technology and Implementations for Space” was being held in Noordvijk at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) on Nov 14 and 15, 2017. There was a broad programme covering the following topics in different sessions:

  • I – Earth and Planetary remote sensing
  • II – Time and frequency distribution
  • III – Commercialisation
  • IV – Communications – including satellite (quantum) networks
  • V – Policy
  • VI – Fundamental Physics

The strategic report of the QTSpace initiative was handed over by the chair of the QTSpace committee Angelo Bassi  over to ESA, represented by Franco Ongaro (Director of Technology, Engineering and Quality and Head of ESTEC) and Jean-François Buggenhout (Deputy Head of Unit, DG CONNECT, European Commission).

Session IV was introduced by Dr. Eric Wille who gave ESA’s perspective on the topic. It was followed up by Prof. Dr. Paolo Villoresi (University of Padova, Italy), giving a keynote speech of the status of Quantum Communication in Space and its role in the QT Flagship.

This was complemented by elevator pitches from research groups in Europe and Canada:

  • Dr. Markus Gräfe (Fraunhofer IOF Jena, DE) – a rugged and entangled photon source,
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Jennewein (IQC, Waterloo, CA) – status of the Canadian satellite quantum communication project,
  • Ass. Prof. Dr. Vadim Makarov (IQC Waterloo, CA) – showing radiation damange to APDs and how to anneal the damage,
  • PD Dr. Christoph Marquardt (MPL, Erlangen, DE) – status of the German space quantum communication activities,
  • Vladyslav Usenko (Palacky University, Olomouc, CZ) – status of the Olomouc quantum communication theory work,
  • and Jonathan Wakeling (BT Group) – showing the perspective of a provider and highlighting an alternative scenario of securing the control plane of networks instead of using the networks for secure communication.

The Erlangen InfiniQuant project also had the chance to exhibit during the workshop and update on the quantum communication. The exhibition and poster session was hosted in the ERASMUS building, showcasing a lot of space equipment and crafts on the premises of the ESTEC institution.

InfiniQuant exhibiting at QCRYPT 2017

The 7th International Conference on Quantum Cryptography (QCRYPT) is being in held in Cambridge this year. The event is taking place from September 18 to 22. InfiniQuant is presenting its project status at the industry exhibition, showing off the current work done with satellites, ground stations and fiber-based research on quantum communication. We are also showcasing a fun “classical security contest” in the form of lockpicking our gummy bear filled Alice and Bob boxes!

With the conference, we have also introduced a new community section on our website. The idea is that quantum communication is a very interdisciplinary field and requires both a broad knowledge of different fields, like quantum mechanics, computer science and engineering, but also deep knowledge to get the security aspects right. As such, we see this as an opportunity to form a common knowledge basis that can be used and nourished by the scientific community to understand the current state of the art of the field. We believe that a clear understanding of the facts can only be developed in collaboration between experts from their respective fields.

So far the section features an overview of the status of security proofs for quantum key distribution distinguished by the assumptions used in them and an incomplete publication database that is meant to be filled over coming months to reflect all key parameters relevant for quantum key distribution in a filterable and searchable way.

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