Hy-Q leads quantum project that aims to develop unhackable encryption

10. March 2020

Researchers from the DNRF Center for Hybrid Quantum Networks (Hy-Q) at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, will head a new research project with the goal of transforming 15 years of quantum research into commercial products. The project has been created in collaboration between researchers and several companies. The first goal is to transport light particles (photons) stored with quantum information via a 10-kilometer-long fiber network between the Niels Bohr Institute and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). The ultimate hope is to use the technology for unbreakable encryption of digital information. The research project is partly supported by the Innovation Fund Denmark with DKK 18 million and has a total budget of DKK 27 million.

The image is a stock-photo showing a computer screen with written code.
The image shows a computer screen with written code. Photo: Florian Olivo / Unsplash.


Over the next four years, the DNRF center Hy-Q will lead a new project that will be created in collaboration between the University of Copenhagen, the University of Aarhus, the Technical University of Denmark, and a number of companies. The aim of the project is to pave the way for protecting digital information against cyber attacks using quantum technology. The first step in the project is to connect the researchers’ photon quantum technology on a 10-kilometer-long fiber network between the Niels Bohr Institute and DTU, after which quantum information will be shipped in the fiber network with unbreakable encryption.

“The first major goal is to build an impenetrable line of communication between the Niels Bohr building in Copenhagen and DTU in Lyngby, using the existing fiber-optic network as a highway for our light particles of encrypted quantum information,” explained Assistant Professor Leonardo Midolo.

The project, called ‘Field-ready single-photon quantum technology’ (Fire-Q), is intended to test the actual application potential of quantum research through conversion to commercial products. In addition to the universities, the project also includes the companies Sparrow Quantum, SiPhotonIC, nanoPHAB, and Swabian Instruments.

“We have enormous aspirations in quantum technology and great opportunities to realize them right here on Danish soil. Doing so requires that we unite and exploit our capabilities. In this project, we have assembled an exceptional team of researchers and people from industry with complementary competencies,” said Professor Peter Lodahl, head of Hy-Q. He added:

“The advantage of our photon (light particle) technology is that it is completely impenetrable. It’s an indestructible link. There are numerous long-term benefits for society, among them, how doctors and patients communicate information securely, and on a wider scale, when critical information in the banking sector or military must be secured,” explained Professor Lodahl.

Further information about FIRE-Q can be found in a press release from the University of Copenhagen here

Read more about the project at Sciencereport.dk here (in Danish)