Quantum Communication Test and Evaluation Lab
To support the realization of Quantum communication systems, TNO has established a test lab which allows for an end-to-end free-space Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) demonstration. The test and evaluation lab is available for commercial parties that want to co-develop or benchmark their systems and components, but also to whom is interested in gaining hands-on experience in the use of QKD.
Quantum communication enables the exchange of secret cryptographic keys in inherently safe ways, with secure point-to-point quantum communication already making its first steps to the market today. On the long term it also promises to enable full connectivity between quantum computers, creating a truly distributed computing network.
What is quantum key distribution
One important research topic in the Quantum communication domain is Quantum Key Distribution (QKD). Quantum states are encoded in photons and transmitted through air or vacuum in order to exchange symmetric encryption keys between two communicating partners. By using either entangled photon pairs or weak laser pulses, the key distribution is fundamentally protected against any eavesdropper trying to obtain information on the key. QKD is envisioned to play a central role within the European Quantum Communication Infrastructure, a pan-European network that will include both ground optical fiber networks and free-space connectivity via satellites.
Validation test lab for free space QKD
TNO has developed a QKD test lab equipped with both the hardware (photon sources and detectors) and the software (raw events management and key extraction protocols) necessary for the validation of optical subsystems for free space QKD. Optical heads designed for over 3km free-space optical communications allow for an end-to-end free space QKD demonstration. This test suite is also available for commercial parties that want to co-develop their systems and gain hands-on knowledge and experience in the setup and use of QKD.
The quantum communication lab includes
- Entangled photon-pair sources
- Optical setups for the implementation of QKD protocols
- Single-photon detector arrays and detection electronics
- Key estimation and key extraction software
If you are a commercial party and want to co-develop your quantum communication systems with us, or if you are a prospective end user of quantum communication systems and want to gain knowledge and hands-on experience, contact us today.