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Archangel Lightworks announce Viable Satellite Free-Space Optical Quantum Key Distribution Project

Harwell, Oxfordshire, UK. (February 9th 2021) - Archangel Lightworks are incredibly excited to announce we are working on a new Innovate UK project: Viable Satellite Free-Space Optical Quantum Key Distribution Technologies (ViSatQT).

The project is in collaboration with Airbus, a major provider of UK-developed secure satellite communication systems, Satellite Applications Catapult, University of Strathclyde, and a set of pioneering UK SMEs. The objective of the project is to prepare new modular flexible system architectures, technology landscape surveys and technology development roadmaps for lower cost, longer range, free space optical quantum communications – enabling strong, secure encryption for institutional and commercial customers in a post-quantum world.

Industry, government, and private citizens rely on strong encryption to keep their data and communications secure, usually using public and private encryption keys. This encryption method is threatened by the rapid approach of quantum computers that have the potential to compromise key agreement schemes based on asymmetric encryption and widely deployed Public Key Infrastructure.

Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is the best existing solution to this problem, using the physics of quantum entanglement to ensure that only the intended recipient can use recover and use the encryption key. Distributing these quantum keys requires Free Space Optical (FSO) communications – you cannot do this with radio. Current approaches using lasers to distribute quantum encryption keys can only operate at night-time, in cloudless conditions, and by waiting for overhead satellites in Low Earth Orbit.

This project looks to address these limitations to accelerate the commercialisation of Satellite QKD technologies, solving issues for the Business Continuity market worth billions of pounds.

CTO, Owain Pryce-Jones, says ‘this project brings together best-in-class technologies from across the quantum value chain and we’re excited to be bringing quantum-secure communications forward toward commercial deployment.’



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