A Deeper Look at the New QKD System from LuxQuanta
In the era of cyber threats and hacks, digital security is quickly becoming a top priority for many different industries. While new security measures such as extra encryption or firewalls can be beneficial, it’s important for companies to look to the future and prepare themselves for the next generation of cyber threats. Thankfully, quantum technology, specifically quantum cryptography, may offer the best solution. The most common method of quantum cryptography, Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is being developed and implemented by a handful of quantum companies around the globe. QKD works by sharing private encryption keys between two parties using secure quantum channels. While many experts believe that the future quantum internet will be built with QKD security measures in place, getting there will take time. However, many companies are already making some significant strides. One of those companies is LuxQuanta, a European market leader in quantum cryptography. Recently, LuxQuanta announced a new commercial product, NOVA LQ™. This product looks to help advance the QKD industry even further, pushing the limits of what is possible for digital security.
What make’s the NOVA LQ so unique is that it has a continuous and seamless integration of QKD technology. According to LuxQuanta CEO Vanesa Díaz: “This technology is actually a game changer because what’s been commercialized so far has limitations in terms of scalability and ease of deployment. And that’s something that our technology, continuous variable Quantum Key Distribution (CV-QKD), can overcome.” Scalability and integration are two priorities that Díaz and the LuxQuanta team are focused on. “This product is the first step towards those goals,” she added. “With this system, we are already strongly positioned to supply the EuroQCI deployment while we continue to tailor our technology to meet the specific needs of the European Commission through the work we already started through the QUARTER consortium.” Not only does NOVA LQ integrate well into older systems, but it also was created to be easy to use. “It’s easy to install,” Díaz stated, “meaning you do not have to push any data in the optical fiber to a different band because you need a quiet channel. Instead, your quantum signals will be robust enough to withstand some noise.”
Because of the current limitations in QKD development, such as the fragility or system errors, the LuxQuanta team has applied a lot of know-how to the multiple layers of technology within the NOVA LQ to try to overcome these issues. As Díaz explained: “First there is an optical layer, which helps us to generate the quantum optical signals.” Next is a layer made of Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), which are digital devices that can repurpose their internal structures to perform different logic functions, essentially extracting the quantum signals from the noise. The final layer involves special software that distils the keys and performs error correction techniques, and that integrates with other machines in the network to create a seamless system. Because of the state of the art techniques and algorithms used in these three different layers, the product achieves extremely good performance and versatility. “I think it’s an outstanding first product for us,” Díaz added. “It is the result of five and a half years of research and development because although the company was founded in May 2021, the technology itself was incubated for four years before that.” Currently, LuxQuanta is in the process of working with European partners to test out the NOVA LQ. They are also beginning to look to create successful investor relations. “We believe the time is now to begin looking at the next level of cryptography,” said Díaz. “We are certain that companies should begin looking at what quantum has to offer and be aware of the many options within this industry.”
Kenna Hughes-Castleberry is a staff writer at Inside Quantum Technology and the Science Communicator at JILA (a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and NIST). Her writing beats include deep tech, the metaverse, and quantum technology.