Intermodal Secure Quantum Communication on Ground and Space


Funded by: Ministero dell’Istruzione, Università e Ricerca (MIUR)  
Calls: Premiale
Start date: 2016-12-01  End date: 2018-11-30
Total Budget: EUR 1.589.007,00  INO share of the total budget: EUR 135.238,00
Scientific manager: Ivo Pietro Degiovanni   and for INO is: Toninelli Costanza

Organization/Institution/Company main assignee: INRIM Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica

other Organization/Institution/Company involved:
Università di Padova – UniPD

other INO’s people involved:
Bellini Marco

Abstract: Security in communications is a strategic resource for many aspects of modern society: from guaranteeing the correct execution of commercial and financial transactions, to the authentication of interlocutors in emergency interventions or diplomatic communications, to the protection of privacy in citizen communications. In recent years it has emerged that current standards of secure communications are insufficient, as shown by the massive breaches of content confidentiality and the generalized control of data and metadata exchange. Given the transversal nature of the problem, various aspects of secure communications are of interest in the H2020 sectors, including ICT and secure societies.

This proposal aims to develop the Italian synergy in new technologies for secure communications based on the principles of Quantum Mechanics and to provide a platform that allows users connected by optical fibers to be securely connected with others capable of making satellite connections. The vision is to realize for the first time an effort that enhances specific Italian frontier skills and results and that forms the development path of quantum communication (in particular of Quantum Key Distribution – QKD-) for different sectors of society, industry and Italian government.

In summary, the project includes two macro-activities:
– the definition and demonstration of secure communication processes based on quantum mechanics along spatial and fiber channels and their interconnection;
– the development and qualification of the innovative technologies necessary for the development / improvement of these secure quantum communications.

The first macro-activity includes the design and construction of a QKD fiber platform, a space and their connection to ensure intermodal operations.
With regard to the safe communication part for the space channel, the Italian researchers have made the first demonstration of quantum communication in space, using satellites equipped with retroreflectors. This project will aim to develop this theme and to indicate future lines of development, which include active satellites. Furthermore, this first macro-activity also includes the development of the metrological infrastructure for the characterization of single-photon devices for QKD systems; the development of this infrastructure represents a fundamental aspect for the standardization and therefore for the commercial success of QKD systems.

The second macro-activity includes activities of investigation, development of new components and single-photon devices for next-generation QKD, but also the exploration of innovative technological approaches. In particular, we will focus on the development of innovative single-photon detectors based on both superconductor and semiconductor technology, and on the creation of single-photon sources. We will also study quantum communication in unusual spectral regions and the related frequency conversion techniques, as well as alternative coding schemes for quantum information and related sources and detectors.
The metrological characterization capacity developed in the first macro-activity will also be exploited within this second macro-activity to evaluate the performance of the new single-photon devices created.

INO’s Experiments/Theoretical Study correlated:
Quantum light state engineering
Single Emitters for Quantum technologies

The Scientific Results:
1) Zero-Area Single-Photon Pulses
2) Efficient noiseless linear amplification for light fields with larger amplitudes
3) Universal Continuous-Variable State Orthogonalizer and Qubit Generator
4) A realistic fabrication and design concept for quantum gates based on single emitters integrated in plasmonic-dielectric waveguide structures
5) Beaming light from a quantum emitter with a planar optical antenna
6) Zero area single photons
7) Photostable molecules on chip: Integrated single photon sources for quantum technologies
8) Planar Yagi-Uda antennas for highly efficient light extraction and directional light emission
9) Self-Assembled Nanocrystals of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Show Photostable Single-Photon Emission