Thuringia will become a center for highly secure quantum communications | Sciences

Thuringia will become a center for highly secure quantum communications

09/22/2022, 13:13

| Reading time: 3 minutes

The quantum test track runs 75 km between Jena and Erfurt (here in a simulation).

Photo: Fraunhofer IOF

Jena / Erfurt.
Partners from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering have for the first time successfully exchanged quantum keys on the 75-kilometre route between Jena and Erfurt.

It’s a milestone for research into highly secure quantum communications in Thuringia and Germany: as reported by the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Microengineering (IOF) in Jena, it has become possible for the first time to use a test path between Jena and Erfurt over a distance of 75 kilometers to successfully exchange quantum keys over fibers. photovoltaic; More than 300,000 so-called quantum keys were sent between the two cities of Thuringia over ten days as a test.

The test track, which was funded by the state, was completed this spring and has been successfully put into service with the latest tests. It links the IOF in Jena with the Fraunhofer Center for Biomedical Microelectronic and Optical Systems (MEOS) in Erfurt.

Thuringia will become a quantum center in Germany

According to IOF press spokeswoman Desiree Hack, Thuringian Economy Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee (SPD) was pleased with the assignment: “Thuringia is one of the leading sites in quantum communications. As a country, we have been investing in expanding these efficiencies for years. The testing path is a step It will be the starting point for a secure quantum communications infrastructure throughout Germany. Thuringia will form a central hub with its own research institutions and companies.”




The first successful quantum key exchange

With Quantum Optics Jena GmbH, it is now possible for the first time to successfully exchange quantum keys on a test track. In 2020, the young startup emerged from the Fraunhofer Institute and has since been developing plug-in solutions for quantum communications. Dr. says. Kevin Fuschsell, CEO of Quantum Optics Jena. “But we are also grateful to Fraunhofer IOF for the opportunity to test our system under everyday conditions. In this way, we jointly encourage the transfer of science to the economy and the practical everyday lives of users.”


For colleagues from Quantum Optics Jena, the first attempt on the test track immediately yielded exciting results: “We can see that the system works differently in the real field than in the lab,” continues Füchsel. “In the lab, we send with similar losses of about 300 bits per second. This results in one encryption key per second. In this area, we’re at about 200 bits, just a little bit lower. The key is 256 bits long, so it can be used in all Approximately a second of encrypted protection (encryption and decryption) of the transmitted information must be renewed. This rapid and automated renewal of keys is precisely what distinguishes quantum key distribution from established methods.”

In order to deepen the results obtained from the first test run and to further develop its solutions, Quantum Optics Jena plans to conduct a second test in the near future.


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