The development and scaling of a nationwide fault-tolerant quantum network is of crucial interest to both the domestic and international scientific community. To achieve large scale quantum networks, quantum teleportation, the technique in which quantum information (a.k.a. qubits) is transferred between a sender and receiver, needs to be realized in a low-cost, size, weight and power (low-CSWAP) form factor. Extending quantum teleportation technology to photonic integrated components, which significantly reduces CSWAP and increases environmental stability can allow for a scalable space-deployable quantum network. A key component to this system is the entangled photon-pair source. Recent developments in quantum communications have successfully demonstrated quantum communications link in space by the Chinese Micius satellite for quantum studies and quantum communication. Freedom Photonics is exploring photonic integrated circuit (PIC) solutions for entangled photon sources in satellite applications. The PICs that will be developed here will allow the low-CSWAP implementation of high-brightness quantum transmitters in LEO satellites to allow for enhanced quantum communications.
Photonic quantum communication devices currently have stringent system level requirements that are still being explored. Freedom Photonics LLC and our RI team member are partnering to combine high-performance photonic technology for entangled photon sources.
Exploring photonic integrated technology that is readily available in telecommunications has become imperative for space-based and airborne quantum communication systems in order to further Nasa’s goal of a U.S. Global Quantum Network by 2032. Additionally, the photonic integrated circuit (PIC) technology being developed can extend to technology needs for other flight missions needing PIC technology for classical communication links and sensors.
A US Government study in 2017 estimated quantum encryption products have a market of $50M to $500M [K. W. Crane et al., IDA Paper P-8567 (2017)]. Also, due to stringent requirements for quantum communications, this technology can be used in classical communication systems, which is a trillion-dollar industry (USTelecom).