(NATO) Professor Xuereb, a project director from NATO partner country Malta in the Multi-Year Project “Secure Quantum Communication Undersea Link” in the framework of the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme answers questions about the project and himself. This SPS activity brings together scientists from Italy and Malta to establish an undersea quantum key distribution link between the two countries – the first ever on this scale.
The biggest challenge he faces is “Balancing the love I have for asking science’s fundamental questions with the realisation that quantum mechanics is increasingly becoming a commodity with which to create new technologies is an interesting challenge.”
The three most recent achievements of the NATO project are based on the underwater secure communications experiment we made between Malta and Italy.
*In the first experiment, particles of light travelled inside an undersea cable connecting the two countries’ telecommunications networks.
*The team demonstrated that submarine optical fibres are stable enough to send and receive ultra-precise time signals over very large distances.
*We demonstrated how ultra-stable lasers can be used to turn the global telecommunications network into a sensitive microphone for tiny earthquakes in remote regions of the globe.
The achievements of this seminal work led directly to NATO’s Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme’s Multi-Year Project ‘Secure Quantum Communication Undersea Link’ or ‘SEQUEL’, which I am currently working on in collaboration with the Istituto Nazionale di Ottica (INO, Italy) and the Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (INRiM, Italy).”
The value of the NATO SPS Programme is that is allows a small consortium to push forward specific technologies at a scale that does not easily fit in any other programme supporting scientific cooperation. It also has a broad remit, encompassing cyber security, quantum technologies, sensing and many other areas.”
The favorite part of his job is “Talking about science! I make it a point to visit schools, speak to politicians and give interviews.”
When asked what his colleagues don’t colleagues know about him, Professor Xuereb responded “Despite not having much musical talent, I played guitar in a rock band for several years when I was in high school and at university.