The QUASIX project aims at designing, fabricating and exprimentally validating the prototype of a new generation silicon-based integrated single photon source for quantum communications, quantifiable as a radically innovative technology.
The QUASIX project is funded by ASI - Agenzia Spaziale Italiana
In the aerospace segment, due to difficulty in the physical access to the device, sensitiveness of transmitted data and also the huge amount of investment anyway needed, quantum cryptography technologies such as QKD appear as a short term opportunity to avoid cyber-attacks.
The discrete variable approach to QKD has been deeply studied: most of the testbeds and available commercial devices are of this kind.
The smart underlying idea is: since a quantum mechanical system (i.e. a photon) is perturbed by any kind of measurement on it, this feature can be exploited to understand if someone is trying to steal data from the channel.
This project combines competences in material science, nano-device physics, processing techniques, photonic IC fabrication technologies, high-end packaging and characterization/validation of the prototype, distributed among different partners:
- CNR (IFN-IMM),
- Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna,
- Politecnico di Milano,
- Università degli Studi di Padova.
Thanks to the synergy between the Istituto di Fotonica e Nanotecnologie (IFN) in Milan and the Istituto per la Microelettronica e Microsistemi (IMM) in Catania, both part of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, advanced nanostructures are realized by carrying out controlled doping of silicon.
Principal Investigator of the Project: Enrico Prati, Senior Scientist of CNR
The INPHOTEC (Integrated Photonic TEchnologies Center) facility of the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Pisa deals with silicon photonics design and fabrication and, of particular interest for this project, the packaging of photonic devices.
Scientific coordinator of the Unit: Prof. Enrico Forestieri
The QuantumFuture group of the Università di Padova has been working for years in the field of free space quantum communications, achieving results in single photon exchange with satellites and Quantum Key Distribution.
Scientific coordinator of the Unit: Prof. Giuseppe Vallone
The Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione e Bioingegneria (DEIB) of Politecnico di Milano has the task of designing the control electronics in 150nm CMOS technology, operating between 77 K and 300 K temperatures, to be fabricated by LFoundry S.R.L.
The Dipartimento di Fisica of Politecnico di Milano has wide experience in optical microscopy and single photon detection.
Scientific coordinator of the Unit: Dr. Giorgio Ferrari, Research Scientist