The three-year Horizon 2020 Quantum Flagship project, called Uniqorn, has been selected for funding by the European Commission as part of the first call of the H2020 Quantum Flagship €1 billion, 10-year programme. The project aims to provide enabling photonic technology to accommodate quantum communications.
The project will develop components vital to quantum communication systems, including true random number generation and secure-key distribution. It also includes specialised optical sources and detector technology, which will be made on mainstream fabrication platforms.
The Uniqorn consortium is made up of 17 partners from nine European countries. The project coordinator is the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), with partners including Eindhoven University of Technology, Micro-Photon-Devices, Politecnico Milano, Smart Photonics, VPIphotonics, and Cordon Electronics.
Fraunhofer HHI’s role in the consortium will be provide the enabling photonic technology to accommodate quantum communications, by shoehorning complex systems, which are presently found on metre-size breadboards, into millimetre-size chips. These systems will not only reduce size and cost but will also bring improvements in terms of robustness and reproducibility. VPI Photonics’ role in the consortium is design and modelling. The industrial end-user perspective will be provided through a system vendor, Mellanox, and operator, Cosmote, while field evaluation activities will be conducted in the live smart-city test-bed run by the University of Bristol in the UK.
Hannes Hübel, scientist and quantum expert at AIT, commented. “There is no doubt that this project will help to bridge the quantum divide,” he said. “By offering cost-optimised quantum technology that follows a similar success story to microelectronics, not only governments and big organisations but also the general public will benefit from the offerings of the quantum age.”