Application-ready technologies (0-5 years)

Includes research lines and developments that can be readily applied to today’s problems and industries, encompassing actual devices and modules, as well as protocols and theoretical frameworks implementable now for the benefit of society.

Some specific examples include: quantum random number generators to provide the ultimate security of quantum encryption; data centres; point-to-point classical information links, to name a few.

Activities at ICFO addressing present-day challenges

White Paper on ICFO's Ultra-Fast Quantum Random Number Generator

White Paper - PDF

Ultrafast Quantum Random Number Generators

ICFO has developed and increased the technological readiness level of a novel ultrafast quantum number generation scheme that is, to our knowledge, the fastest system available in the world, ready to be used in real settings. Orders of magnitude faster than other available technologies and with a quantum-source.

High Performance Computer simulations and Cloud Computing

The capability of generating random numbers very fast is essential to stochastic computer simulations used presently in a wide range of applications from scientific research and engineering to finance and Big Data. The key, however, is not only the ultra-fast, real-time number generation, but the fact that the quantum essence of the generation ultimately prohibits the possibility of patterns in the seeds of the simulations.
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Data centre security, data Encryption and secure connections

The capability of generating random numbers at such a speed can be leveraged, for example, for the ultrafast generation of encryption keys that are ultimately unbreakable. It is not only the most secure means of generating encryption keys that may be used, for example, to provide secure connections to a data centre, it is also the fastest approach with these characteristics.
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Quantum encryption for secure point-to-point classical links

Similarly to what happens in cloud computing and data centres, ICFO’s QRNG can be used to guarantee the integrity of the secure keys used to encrypt data for standard point to point information exchange. In particular, this is of special interest in dark fibre connections between strategic locations or within an organisation.
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Ultra low latency QRNG

As in the ultrafast quantum random number generator, but in this instanceleveraging the ultra-low latency of the number generation, ICFO’s modules are an essential tool for loop-hole free tests and Device Independent quantum communication experiments.
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Photon sources for Quantum Communications

Quantum communication (QC) or quantum key distributions (QKD) can in principle ensure 100% security in the processing of sensitive data, such as financial transaction and health records. It is based on the generation, transmission and detection of quantum states (qubits) of individual entities that act as carriers and cannot be cloned. At present, photons are the most suitable carrier entities for QC, be it over an optical fibre or in free-space. Over the last ten years we have developed integrated sources for QC using Decoy state protocol and entangled photon sources. These were part of a photonic transceiver module which was a deliverable of a collaborative project sponsored by the European Space Agency (ESA)