A quantum network based on quantum entanglement is a potentially revolutionary technology with anticipated applications, such as “blind” quantum computing and secure communications, as well as a host of yet-to-be-discovered uses. To realize the true potential of quantum entanglement, scientists and engineers need standardized and reliable hardware to transmit and receive entangled quantum states of light. A key component of this network will be entanglement distributions transceivers. These components will both generate pairs of entangled photons that can be sent to other nodes within the network as well as receive and analyze photons from other transceiver units. While fiber-based networks may be useful in the near-term, placing such transceivers within a satellite-based network—which is capable of long-distance networking—represents a major milestone for the development of quantum information technologies. Consequently, such components should be low size, weight, and power (SWaP) to be compatible with satellite transmission. To address this challenge, PSI will team with Prof. Paul Kwiat (University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, UIUC) and develop a Doppler-compensated Integrated Photonic Time-bin Entanglement Transceiver using a photonic integrated circuit platform. This transceiver will become a standardized component that will facilitate the exploration of quantum-entanglement applications both terrestrially and for space-based missions.
The transceiver technology developed within this program is well-suited for space-based quantum communications, simultaneously having low size, weight, and power requirements while being specifically designed for the challenges of satellite-to-satellite and satellite-to-ground quantum entanglement distribution. In addition to serving as a test platform for NASA’s quantum information research, these transceiver modules will be key components for future NASA missions that may include space-based quantum networking.
The proposed transceiver modules could be added to augment next-generation satellites with quantum capabilities. In addition, this time-based technology, which operates at telecommunication wavelengths, is well-matched to fiber-based quantum networks.