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A first testbed for quantum communication infrastructure in Luxembourg

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Published on Wednesday, 06 April 2022

The University of Luxembourg's Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT), in collaboration with the Department of Media, Connectivity and Digital Policy (SMC) of the Ministry of State, today announces the development of the Luxembourg Quantum Communication Infrastructure Laboratory (LUQCIA). The 5-year project is funded by the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Facility in the context of the NextGenerationEU initiative, and will aim to build a national testbed in 2023 to enable advanced and applied research in quantum key distribution and quantum internet – a vital stage in the next generation of computing and internet usage.

Luxembourg wants to remain the state-of-the-art communication hub it has become over the last decade. That is why we have taken it upon ourselves, through the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT)'s scientific leadership, to lay the groundwork for tomorrow’s quantum communication infrastructure,” stated Prime Minister and Minister for Communication and Media, Xavier Bettel.

The Minister of Finance, Yuriko Backes, commented: “I would like to pay particular tribute to the pioneering role of SnT, in collaboration with the SMC, in the development of quantum communication technologies. It is one of the national Recovery and Resilience Plan’s key measures for the digital transition. The EU funds will actively support Luxembourg to improve the security of public sector communications as part of a wider European project.”

The LUQCIA infrastructure will give University of Luxembourg researchers unique tools to optimise cybersecurity for the upcoming quantum communication technology,” stated the rector of the University of Luxembourg, Stéphane Pallage.

Future-proofing secure communication

Most of the data we exchange over the internet is secured through keys that encrypt and decrypt information. As computers are made with increasingly greater computing power, the time it takes for a hacker to be able to break this encryption becomes shorter and shorter. However, an emerging field of cybersecurity called Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) aims to better secure our data even against quantum computers – an upcoming generation of extremely powerful computers that, when launched on a wide scale, could leave our information wide open to attackers.

LUQCIA aims to develop and implement an ultra-secure communication infrastructure based on quantum technology. The aim is to connect at least two geographical sites within the LUQCIA research infrastructure. LUQCIA will rely primarily on a terrestrial network and will integrate the space segment through follow-up activities.

Developing a robust quantum communication infrastructure leveraging both terrestrial and satellite optical links will guarantee the security of our data in our communications network well into our future. It will also help to realise the future of a quantum internet by interconnecting high-performance quantum computers,” said Principal Investigator of the project, Prof. Symeon Chatzinotas.

Once up and running in 2023, the LUQCIA lab will be open to national and international stakeholders for joint research activities in the framework of SnT’s Partnership Programme.