Propelling quantum research across continents

A teacher-led project Roberto Morandotti almost receives $2 million of NSERC to create an intercontinental quantum communication network.

VARENNES, QC, October 19, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ – Quantum entanglement is a phenomenon that fascinates scientists around the world. The very idea that two particles are intimately linked and that a change of state in one instantly causes a change in the other, even if they are millions of light-years apart, remains intriguing. This action, once described by the theoretical physicist Albert Einstein as “remote spooky action”, is now the basis for futuristic applications in information processing and sensing.

Entangled photons have already been successfully exchanged over short distances in various experiments using free beams in the air or via optical fibers laid in the ground. However, exchanging over longer distances still presents technological challenges. The solution: the direct exchange of entangled photons in space via optical satellite links.

A team of scientists from Canada and Europe has set itself the ambitious goal of making this exchange a success. The HyperSpace project is the result of this strategic collaboration and aims to develop a quantum communication network between continents. Led by Professor Roberto Morandotti of the National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS), the project focuses on research in integrated quantum photonics and optical space communications. It is co-funded by the European Commission (under the Horizon Europe programme) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for the amount of $1,918,170 over three years.

“This international project will allow us to study the distribution of complex (high-dimensional) entangled photons via satellite, the first time this has been done! I thank NSERC and the European Commission for their support of our work. will take research in quantum communication to a whole new level and together solve technological challenges whose results will benefit society“, says Roberto Morandotti, Canadian academic leader of the project.

Distribution of entangled photons in space

HyperSpace’s overarching goal is to further develop quantum satellite communications through appropriate experiments in scalable global quantum networks.

This global quantum network will interconnect a wide range of quantum processors using a variety of quantum channels, just like in the conventional Internet.

To facilitate deployment on small, scalable satellites, the team seeks not only to develop new protocols based on quantum hyperentanglement, but also to transfer these protocols into scalable photonic integration platforms.

The applications of hyperspace in the field of information technologies and sensors will be numerous. For example, a global quantum internet will enable vastly improved applications, such as more accurate clock synchronization, highly efficient cloud information, or even highly secure data transmission via quantum cryptography that relies on physics. Some of these applications were unimaginable before.

“Professor Morandotti and his team are once again part of a very promising initiative for INRS and for Quebec, in a growing sector. Multi-sectoral collaborations are key to developing solutions to today’s global challenges,” Luc-Alain GiraldeauDirector General of INRS.

Close collaboration between Canada and the EU

A total of eight partners from Europe and Canada are involved in the HYPER entanglement in SPACE (HyperSpace). In addition to INRS, the University of Torontoand the University of Waterloo (Canada), other partners include the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF (Germany), the Università degli Studi di Pavia and the Università degli Studi di Padova (Italy), the Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission CEA-LETI (France), and the Vienna University of Technology (Austria). The European coordinator of the project is the Fraunhofer IOF.

This project is part of a larger funding initiative of three research and innovation projects, from the EU and Canada, to support fundamental research in quantum technologies. The three projects will share grants worth a total of around 4 million EU euros and nearly $5 million from NSERC. The announcement was made in early October.

World-renowned European and Canadian research teams will leverage quantum technologies to jointly develop solutions that will benefit both the EU and Canada. Members will be able to address a variety of technological and societal issues that they could not solve separately.

from Canada quantum researchers are globally recognized, and this opportunity to connect with their peers in Europe is based on years of collaboration and innovation. These new projects in the fields of quantum sensing, communication and computing will push the boundaries of current technologies and pave the way for discoveries and advances in the field. I am very happy to contribute to the launch of these research projects and look forward to future collaborations with our European partners,” says Alexander AdamPresident of NSERC.

“What makes this project so great is the value added by the intersection of complementary research areas. Close collaboration at multiple levels will facilitate and encourage faster sharing of knowledge,” adds Professor Morandotti.

About INRS

INRS is an academic institution dedicated exclusively to research and graduate training. Since its creation in 1969, it has actively contributed to the economic, social and cultural development of Quebec. INRS is the first intensive research center in Quebec. It is made up of four interdisciplinary research and training centers located in Quebec City, Montreal, Laval and Varenneswhich focus their activities on strategic sectors: Water Earth Environment, Energy Materials Telecommunications, Urbanization Culture Society and Armand-Frappier Healthcare Biotechnology. Its community includes over 1,500 students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty and staff.

SOURCE National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS)

For further information: Julie Robert, Communications and Public Affairs, National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS), [email protected]