Inside Quantum Technology

PhD Students at Singapore’s CQT Develop Hands-On Quantum Key Workshop for Pre-University Students

( Singapore’s Center for Quantum Technology (CQT) PhD students developed a hands-on quantum key distribution (QKD) workshop for pre-university students. Lab mates Adrian Utama, Jianwei Lee and Mathias Seidler, who were all then PhD students in experimental quantum optics, designed the QKD activity for school students participating in the Centre’s Q Camp. The three co-authored the paper because “We wanted to share the blueprint of this system and students’ responses to this form of hands-on-learning because we saw how engaged the participants were,” says Jianwei.
Now they have published a paper about their approach in American Journal of Physics. They hope educators will be inspired to adopt the workshop for wider use.
Held annually, Q camp is offered to local students aged between 15 and 19 from Singapore Junior Colleges, polytechnics and other educational backgrounds. The QKD workshop was a three-hour activity that built on about three hours of introductory lectures. Q Camp was not held in 2020 because of Covid-19 but will return in 2021 if circumstances allow – with the QKD activity included.
The team developed both hardware and software modules to implement a simplified version of the BB84 quantum key distribution protocol. Schematics of the equipment are included in the paper. The team has made further documentation and the control programs available to download on Github.
“Our work allows educators to empower their students to build their very own QKD system, albeit with slight modifications that allow the system to be assembled with off-the-shelf components,” says Jianwei.

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