Quantum encryption on 100Gbps metro data, Toshiba promises

Quantum encryption on 100Gbps metro data, Toshiba promises

Toshiba QKD scientist.jpg

Toshiba says that it has developed photonic integrated circuits that can use quantum technology to encrypt metro communications with speeds of 100Gbps.

The company, which has a quantum lab in Cambridge in the UK, says it has developed the world’s first chip-based quantum key distribution (QKD) system.

“This advance will enable the mass manufacture of quantum security technology, bringing its application to a much wider range of scenarios including to internet of things (IoT) solutions,” said Toshiba.

Andrew Shields, head of quantum technology at Toshiba Europe, said: “Photonic integration will allow us to manufacture quantum security devices in volume in a highly repeatable fashion. It will enable the production of quantum products in a smaller form factor, and subsequently allow the roll out of QKD into a larger fraction of the telecom and datacom network.”

The company, which earlier this month said it was working with BT to build the world’s first quantum-secured commercial metro network, operating from London to Bristol, said that “photonic integrated circuits hold great promise in enabling the practical wide-scale deployment of quantum c ommunications”.

But until now, said Toshiba, “a fully operational quantum communication system using photonic chips is yet to be demonstrated”.

However, now it has shown what it calls “an entirely standalone secure communication system based on photonic integrated circuits – assembled into compact modules – for quantum random number generation and quantum key distribution at gigahertz clock rates”.

Full details are in Nature Photonics, published last Thursday, 21 October. Taofiq Paraiso, the lead author of the Nature Photonics paper, said: “This work shows that a fully deployable chip-based QKD system is now attainable, marking the end of an important challenge for quantum technologies. This opens a wide-range of perspectives for the deployment of compact, plug-and-play quantum devices that will certainly strongly impact our society.”

Toshiba said the research showed circuits with quantum secured communications would work over metropolitan fibre lengths: “These results mark an important milestone for the realistic deployment of quantum communications based on quantum photonic chips.”

Taro Shimada, Toshiba’s senior VP and chief digital officer, said: “Toshiba has invested in quantum technology R&D in the UK for over two decades. This latest advancement is highly significant, as it will allow us to manufacture and deliver QKD in much larger quantities. It is an important milestone towards our vision of building a platform for quantum-safe communications based upon ubiquitous quantum security devices.”



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