QuigaByte-Gigahertz-clocked telecom cluster states for next generation quantum photonics

Lead Research Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Department Name: Sch of Engineering and Physical Science


Quantum technology enables tasks that aren't possible with classical methods, promising advances in a variety of scientific fields impacting our everyday lives: biology, medicine, material, and physical sciences. Photons are a particularly suitable carrier for quantum information because they can be used for virtually all quantum information tasks, and they are comparatively simple to create, manipulate and detect.

In this fellowship I will speed up current state-of-the art quantum photonics by 4 orders of magnitude, to deliver gigahertz clocked photonic "quantum bytes"-8-photon cluster states in the telecommunications regime. This improvement will be achieved by combining recent advances in quantum photon source engineering with cutting edge ultra-fast laser technology and superconducting photon detectors. In collaboration with the two recently funded EPSRC Quantum Technology hubs in Quantum Communication and Quantum Enhanced Imaging, I will apply these photonic qubytes to a range of quantum tasks: secure quantum encryption with trusted devices, quantum-enhanced imaging, and all-optical quantum networking protocols.

Planned Impact

The expected results from this fellowship will benefit:

1. The public, for which we will deliver more secure communication pathways and improved medical imaging tools.
2. Our industrial partners, for which we will open up new applications in quantum research and thus commercial benefits.

Society impact:
Quantum information processing is regarded as one of the disruptive technologies of the 21st century, and with this fellowship I will be able to significantly advance technology to deliver long-term benefits to society.

Some immediate benefits will be delivered through two aspects of my proposal that tie in with the EPSRC Quantum Communications and Quantum Enhanced Imaging hubs: secure communication and quantum enhanced imaging.

Cyber-security in particular is receiving major attention from governments due to drastic increases in cyber-theft, which are expected to damage the global economy to the tune of half a trillion dollars annually, http://reut.rs/1nu2guN. Quantum cryptography provides an answer to that problem, and is at the same time the quantum technology closest to mass-market commercialization. In tight collaboration with the Quantum Communication hub that involves Toshiba Inc., I will deliver quantum encryption protocols with trusted devices, and protocols for all-optical quantum networking which have the potential to significantly strengthen online security.

The potential societal impact that quantum-enhanced imaging promises through life-science applications such as improved medical imaging of live tissue is less immediate. However, the tie-in of this Fellowship with the Quantum Enhanced Imaging hub will maximize the potential for impact through its strong suite of industrial and commercial partners.

Economic and industrial impact:
The main industrial beneficiaries of this project are our commercial partners-LaserQuantum UK, PhotonSpot, US, and Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), Austria. These companies will have premium access to the quantum photonics community through this fellowship; enhancing their exposure and enabling them to tailor their products market needs. AIT in particular strongly supports my fellowship and will through their successful track record of commercializing university-grade research into marketable products in quantum communication deliver immense mutual benefit.


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Boccolini A (2019) Ghost imaging with the human eye in Optics Express

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Graffitti F (2017) Pure down-conversion photons through sub-coherence-length domain engineering in Quantum Science and Technology

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McCracken R (2018) Numerical investigation of mid-infrared single-photon generation in Journal of the Optical Society of America B

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Proietti M (2019) Experimental test of local observer independence in Science Advances

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Ringbauer M (2018) Multi-time quantum correlations with no spatial analog in npj Quantum Information

Description 3QN: Towards A New UK Industry for Novel Quantum Receivers in Nascent Satellite QKD Global Markets
Amount £4,200,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 104616 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2018 
End 03/2021
Description TrakM8 KTP
Amount £600,000 (GBP)
Funding ID KTP 11320 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2019 
End 03/2022