A new major European project, OPENQKD, which has just been launched, will establish infrastructures for testing quantum cryptography technologies in several European countries. The aim is to boost the development of new secure communication technologies and thus future-proof the critical data infrastructure in, for example, the healthcare sector, electricity supply, and for communication from the authorities.
This is done by using quantum key distribution (QKD), which to date is the only demonstrably secure method for generating and distributing encryption keys between two parties and thus establishing a secured communication channel for the transfer of confidential data. The security is based not only on mathematical complexity, but on fundamental principles of quantum physics. The hope is that OPENQKD can bring the technology behind quantum cryptography to a level where it can be introduced in the market and create the foundation for the next generation of secure communication technology.
Danish development interesting for the business community
As part of the OPENQKD project, researchers at DTU Physics and DTU Fotonik will have the opportunity to test their first prototype on a quantum key distribution system. For the time being, the prototype has been implemented on an insulated fibre optic connection, a so-called black fibre, dedicated to the purpose, and the system has been developed by researchers at the Qubiz centre, which has been established with support from Innovation Fund Denmark.
“In OPENQKD, we get the chance to test our lab system in one of the fibre test environments which are being established. This will give us valuable input for the further development of our system. Our next goal is to develop a completely autonomous QKD system which is ready for use by the end-users and thus attractive to the Danish business community. However, this requires significant new investments, which we hope to be able to raise as soon as possible,” says Tobias Gehring, DTU Physics.
The OPENQKD project will run for the next three years. The project is a consortium with 38 partners from 13 European countries, universities, companies, and organizations.