III-V optoelectronic foundry Compound Semiconductor Technologies Global Ltd (CST Global, a subsidiary of Sweden-based Sivers IMA Holding AB) of Hamilton International Technology Park, Blantyre, near Glasgow, Scotland, UK is leading the gallium antimonide/gallium arsenide (GaSb/GaAs) Quantum Ring Single Photon LED (QR-SPLED) project, which runs from March 2017 until February 2018 and seeks to mass produce low-cost, single-photon LEDs (SPLEDs); a critical technology step in the development of commercially viable, next-generation, intrinsic network security.
The academic partner on the project is Dr Manus Hayne of the Department of Physics at Lancaster University, who is said to be a recognized authority on GaSb/GaAs quantum rings and their use in devices such as telecoms-wavelength vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs).
“To successfully produce next-generation, secure networks we must first mass produce low-cost, single-photon LED sources,” says project lead Thomas Slight, a research engineer at CST Global. “They provide two enabling security elements. The first being that the single-photon LED can transmit unique ‘key exchange’ encryption and decryption data within each data packet, making it impossible to hack. The second being that any attempt to measure or ‘eavesdrop’ on communications is immediately detected and the communication terminated.”
The QR-SPLED project (EP/P034233/1) is funded by UK government through the agency Innovate UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), in the framework of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme, with additional funding expected for developing a packaged SPLED solution later. UK funding of £252,649 is targeted at retaining the critical knowledge and expertise generated by the project in the UK and allowing CST Global, and other commercial partners, to be at the forefront of emerging, next-generation quantum-telecoms-driven network security.