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The National Institute of Optics, together with the Institute of Informatics and Telematics, of the CNR participate in the consortium selected by the European Union to design and test the future Italian infrastructure, which will protect sensitive data, adding an additional level of security based on communications quantum.
Quantum technologies will become part of everyday life as early as the near future. Quantum communications, and in particular Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), are undoubtedly the ones in a more advanced state guaranteeing ultra-secure communications. This method, in fact, allows you to distribute the encryption keys, encoding the information on quantum states of light, allowing you to detect a potential intrusion thanks to the fundamental laws of quantum physics, such as Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.
The QUID (Quantum Italy Deployment) project, coordinated by the National Metrological Research Institute (INRiM) of Turin, is the Italian implementation of the European Quantum Communication Infrastructure (EuroQCI), promoted by the European Commission with the aim of creating a European for quantum communication.
The main purpose of QUID is the development of nodes in metropolitan quantum communication networks (QMANs), connected to each other through the Italian Quantum Backbone, an infrastructure that covers the Italian territory and which distributes, with unprecedented stability and accuracy, signals of time and sample rate, using commercial fiber optics. In each QMAN quantum key exchanges will be performed between one node and another using QKD systems with discrete variables; distances greater than metropolitan ones will be covered using “trusted” nodes or innovative Twin-Field QKD techniques (with “untrusted” nodes).
QUID will also unite important sites for the connection between optical fiber communication and the space segment of the European QCI. The QUID consortium brings together leading Italian companies in the sector, the main research institutes involved in quantum communication, both for the terrestrial and space segments, and universities involved in innovation and training.
The CNR through its institutes, the National Institute of Optics of Florence and the Institute of Informatics and Telematics of Pisa, will contribute to the creation of network architectures and the development of control systems to make new technologies compatible with the infrastructures of already existing network. In addition, the CNR participates in the project also thanks to its spin-off founded in 2020, QTI – Quantum Telecommunication Italy, which produces the QKD systems that will be used within the QUID project.
The quantum communications group of the CNR of Florence is based at the National Institute of Optics (CNR-INO) of Arcetri. The research group’s activities include the creation of advanced quantum cryptography systems that exploit the most innovative cutting-edge technologies. In addition, the group studies quantum communication schemes based on fundamental properties of quantum systems such as entanglement and quantum teleportation, which will serve to connect quantum computers of the future.
The collaboration with the Institute of Informatics and Telematics (CNR-IIT), renowned in the scientific community for frontier research on new computer network architectures, has the objective of defining innovative methods for integrating QKD into existing telecommunications, thus contributing to an increase in the technological impact of the project in the medium and long term.
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