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A Combined Investment of $1 Million for Two Projects in Quantum Technology for Secure Communication

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MONTRÉAL and VARENNES, QC, June 17, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ - Cybersecurity is a major issue in today's connected society. Quantum technologies could provide a revolutionary solution to the problem of secure communication, especially in relation to sending personal, banking, and governmental data online. Roberto Morandotti, a professor at the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), researches this issue. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has awarded Professor Morandotti more than $800,000 to fund two research projects in quantum communication and in quantum cryptography. The first project also benefits from a $215,157 contribution from Prompt and the Ministère de l'Économie et de l'Innovation du Québec.

L'Institut National de la recherche scientifique (INRS) Logo (CNW Group/Institut National de la recherche scientifique (INRS))
L'Institut National de la recherche scientifique (INRS) Logo (CNW Group/Institut National de la recherche scientifique (INRS))

Quantum Communication

Professor Morandotti is interested in quantum communications networks made up of local nodes. These connection points generate photons that are used to transport information. The quantum properties of these light particles allow them to travel long distances along an optical fiber between local nodes.

Two central obstacles slow the development of this promising technology: the loss of photons and the lack of robust interconnects between local nodes. Professor Morandotti will collaborate with OptoElectronic Components Inc (OEC), an industry partner, to overcome these obstacles.

Together, they will develop robust, low-loss interconnects between integrated waveguide-based photonic chips and standard optical fibers. Professor Morandotti made it clear that "This is a crucial step toward the commercialization of fiber-based quantum secure communication that will help Canada maintain its position as a leading player in the field."

Teams of university and industry researchers from Britain will also collaborate by simultaneously developing photonic chips.

Quantum Cryptography

Quantum cryptography is another promising approach in the field of secure communication. Quantum cryptography relies on photons' quantum characteristics. Indeed, quantum key distribution prevents information photons from being intercepted or copied, which allows communication to be secure.

Using on-chip photonic structures integrated with fiber optic networks offers several advantages. However, these devices often require a compromise between cost and performance. With his quantum cryptography project, Professor Morandotti seeks to improve these photonic platforms with OEC's support.

University and industry teams from the UK are also collaborating on this project. These partners will create the source architecture for the development of miniature atomic clocks.

"These projects will benefit Canada by training highly qualified personnel in the interdisciplinary field of integrated photonics and device design," Professor Morandotti concluded.

About the Projects

The first project, titled, "Connectorizing Integrated Quantum Photonics Devices," received a $400,000 grant through NSERC's call for joint Canada-UK projects on quantum technology, as well as a contribution of $215 157 from Prompt and the ministère de l'Économie et de l'Innovation du Québec.

The second project, titled "Development of Highly Efficient, Portable, and Fiber-Integrated Photonic Platforms Based on Micro-Resonator," also received $400,000 from the same program.

About INRS

INRS is a university dedicated exclusively to graduate level research and training. Since its creation in 1969, INRS has played an active role in Québec's economic, social, and cultural development and is ranked first for research intensity in Québec and in Canada. INRS is made up of four interdisciplinary research and training centres in Québec City, Montréal, Laval, and Varennes, with expertise in strategic sectors: Eau Terre Environnement, Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications, Urbanisation Culture Société, and Armand-Frappier Santé Biotechnologie. The INRS community includes more than 1,500 students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty members, and staff.

About Prompt

Prompt is a consortium that forges and funds high-impact industry R&D partnerships. We help governments fund research and development (R&D). Our work creates university-industry R&D partnerships that increase the competitiveness of the information and communications technology (ICT) industry across Quebec

Large global companies. Multiple ecosystems in healthcare, 5G, AI, cybersecurity, UX, telecommunications, digital media, etc.

In the past year alone, Prompt approved 101 projects worth almost $80 million.

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SOURCE Institut National de la recherche scientifique (INRS)

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