OPENQKD: paving the way for secure quantum communication

4 September 2019

Quantum communication offers a promising approach to boosting the security of critical applications in the fields of telecommunications, health care, electricity supply, and government services.

The OPENQKD pilot project will aim to bring about a change in the way we see, understand, and use quantum communication. Its focus is to create and test a communication network infrastructure with a built-in quantum element, using Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), an ultra-secure form of encryption that allows data to be transmitted with a very high level of security. It will lay the groundwork for a pan-European quantum communication infrastructure that uses satellite as well as ground-based solutions. Recently, the European Commission and several EU countries announced plans to work together to explore the development of such a quantum communication infrastructure linking European regions and cities.

The core aim of OPENQKD is to develop encryption technologies that can enhance the security of critical applications in areas such as telecommunications, power supply, healthcare, finance and public administration.

The research group of Harald Weinfurter, LMU München physics professor and coordinator of the Research Unit Quantum Communication within MCQST contributes to the project. The group plans to develop new methods for secure encryption and to integrate them into local networks through a demonstration experiment.

OPENQKD, which is coordinated by the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, is funded by the European Commission with a total of 15 million euros for the next three years. A total of 38 partners - 13 member states and Horizon 2020 associated states - are involved in the interdisciplinary cooperation.The consortium partners cover a wide range of competences including quantum equipment manufacturers, network operators, system integrators, small and medium-sized enterprises, research and technology organisations, universities, certification and standardisation bodies, and end users.

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