CST Global develops unhackable Quantum Key Distribution technology

Created March 3, 2020
Applications and Research

Scotland-based CST Global has developed Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) emitter and detector technologies as part of a UK-funded, government project. The company says these technologies can enable totally secure, network communications. QKD suits mission-critical, client server applications, where unbreakable security codes prevent hacking and malicious attack. QKD can be applied to existing IT infrastructures and offers a high-security, data transmission option within the rapidly expanding, optical communications market.

QKD has been developed as part of CST Global’s core competence in Quantum technologies. QKD is a result of CST Global’s involvement in the QR-SPLED, government-funded project and the ‘Single Photon Infrared Detectors for Quantum Systems’ project with Amythest research and Lancaster University. QKD requires a single photon Quantum Light Source (QLS) to transmit data and a Single-Photon Detector (SPD) to receive it. CST Global has both QLS and SPD technologies developed to microscale, through government-funded projects.

Andrew McKee, CTO at CST Global (pictured), explains, “High-security authentication of client server sessions in today’s IT infrastructures are encrypted via a secure, HTTPS key server. CST Global’s QKD solution will also do this, however, it can encrypt every single packet of data within a session, in real time, making it significantly more secure. However, QKD’s speed allows direct client server communications and it will detect tamper attempts, aborting ‘suspect’ sessions. This makes QKD-based network security totally un-hackable.”

The SPD receiver also operates at room temperature, instead of at the impractical, cryogenic temperatures of previous solutions. CST Global’s QKD solution operates at room temperature and is potentially small enough, cheap enough and practical enough for deployment in pc, server or smartphone applications. The company is actively seeking a commercial partner interested in developing a dedicated, nanoscale chip for widespread use. CST Global provides both a custom foundry service, as well as a range of high-volume, standard laser products for the optical communications markets. It is an active partner in the UK and European, Technology Consortium Programme

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This article was written
by Peter Dykes

Peter Dykes is a independent telecoms and technology journalist who has over that last 30 years written for a wide range of B2B publications and companies. A former BT engineer, he specialises in networks and associated support systems. He is currently Editor of Optical Connections.