Towards Unconditionally Secure Communications

Quantum technologies have the potential to revolutionize the field of secure communications completely. Currently available classical cryptographic protocols rely on the relative complexity of the encryption and decryption algorithms and are therefore only computationally secure. Quantum information technology deals with the storage, transmission, and processing of information using quantum-mechanical systems. Quantum communication also allows the transfer of sensitive information, such as cryptography keys, in a way that protects its confidentiality. In quantum cryptography, quantum information is exchanged in the form of qubits encoded by the sender in the quantum state of single photons. The receiver decodes the information by performing a quantum measurement on the state. Any attempt to measure the transmitted state by an eavesdropper will produce errors detectable by the receiver. This provides the means for parties to exchange with unconditional security an enciphering key. This key can then be used to encrypt classical information for transmission over a conventional, non-secure telecommunication communication channel.

Quantum Key Distribution

Digital technology has revolutionized the communication industry through high-speed, ultra-broadband and secure networks. It has been proven that breaking cipher protocols will be efficient and fast using quantum computers. Although such devices do not exist yet, hacking schemes such as harvest and decrypt are based on the anticipation of quantum computing. Furthermore, as soon as the first quantum computers become available today's protected information will no longer be secure without using quantum methods for encryption, such as Quantum Key Distribution, currently considered to be the most powerful data encryption scheme ever developed. In QKD two parties use single photons that are randomly polarized to states representing ones and zeroes to transmit a series of random sequences that are used as cryptographic keys. This sequence of numbers becomes a quantum key to lock/unlock encrypted messages. Because the transmitted photons cannot be intercepted without being destroyed, the act of interception tips off the message receiver.



Distance Limitations and Quantum Repeaters

To establish a worldwide quantum communication network the main challenge consists in extending the length of the communication channels. Due to losses introduced during transmission, direct quantum communication in fiber-optics is limited to distances of about 100 miles, hindering the possibility of a true global quantum network. A missing ingredient is the capacity to amplify quantum signals. Where transmission over a longer distance is required, measures must be taken to counteract the unavoidable losses of the transmitted signal. Traditionally a signal repeater receives, amplifies, and then forwards the message. The direct implementation of an amplifier in a quantum network is however not straight-forward as quantum information cannot be detected or amplified. For quantum systems, a measurement changes the quantum-state of the information carrying photons, with the result that the same fundamental principle which protects quantum communication from eavesdroppers also prevents the traditional amplification of the signal. Instead, the role of amplifiers is fulfilled by quantum repeaters which work with entangled photon pairs, to achieve preservation of the quantum properties. These repeaters enable quantum state distribution and storage, overcoming problems of loss. The entanglement distribution range is thus extended by concatenating these QRs over successive fiber-optic links, where entanglement is created independently for each link and extended by swapping.

Mehdi Namazi, CEO

Mehdi holds a Ph.D. in physics from Stony Brook University with extensive experience developing and improving quantum memory prototypes and light-matter interfaces. He has worked on critical aspects of quantum technologies, amongst others realizing the first unconditional room-temperature quantum memory, securely storing information using a combination of quantum memory and quantum key distribution protocols and simulating relativistic quantum particles using light-matter interactions.

Eden Figueroa, Scientific Lead

Eden is an expert in the implementation and characterization of quantum memories and a Professor of Physics at SBU. His unique expertise and state-of-the-art room-temperature quantum memories built in his research laboratory are one of the pillars of Qunnect. Among his achievements: the first room-temperature quantum memory for squeezed light, the first quantum memory using single atoms in optical cavities, and very recently, the first high-fidelity room-temperature memory for polarization qubits.

Robert Brill, Chairman

Bob is the co-founder and managing partner of Newlight Management and holds a Ph.D. in Physics from Brown University. Before Newlight, Bob was a general partner of Poly Ventures, a Long Island-based venture capital fund. He is on the board of directors of the L.I. Angel network and the L.I. High Tech Incubator. He has served on the board of directors of multiple public and private companies. He has also served as general manager of Harris Corporation’s CMOS Semiconductor Division and held various technical and management positions at IBM’s semiconductor operation. He is a founding member of the technical advisory board of the Semiconductor Research Corporation and was elected to the L.I. technology hall of fame. He also holds multiple patents and invention disclosures.

Mael Flament, Engineering Lead

Mael has a background in instrumentation development for science. Previous experience includes work at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, CERN, and NASA. He has a M.Sc. in physics, and an engineering background with expertise in designing and optimizing industrial-level technologies, derived from academia innovations. Recently he has developed a new generation of compact quantum memories, more suitable for outside-the-lab applications while researching Quantum Networks at the Quantum Information Technology laboratory at Stony Brook University and at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Ann-Marie Scheidt, Business Advisor

Ann-Marie is Director of Economic Development at Stony Brook University. She chairs the Business Incubator Association of New York State and is a former President of Women Economic Developers of Long Island. She is a director of the Brookhaven Industrial Development Agency, serving New York’s third largest town; the Hauppauge Industrial Association, representing the largest industrial park in the Northeast; Long Island High Technology Incubator Inc., which oversees the region’s oldest new business incubator facility; the Long Island Angel Network; and the Composites Prototyping Center. She also founded Stony Brook’s student entrepreneurship competition.

Yacov Shamash, Business Advisor

Yacov is Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Vice President for Economic Development at Stony Brook University, supervising more than a dozen programs assisting almost 300 companies annually. He is a member of the board of directors of the public technology companies Applied DNA Sciences, Comtech Telecommunications Corp., and Keytronic. He has served on the boards of numerous private tech companies and is a board member of the Long-Island Software and Technology Network and the Long Island Angel Network. From '92 to '15 he served as Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at SBU.

Avril Coakley, Business Administrator

Avril earned a BA in Mathematics and Computer Science from Manhattanville College in 1987 and began her business career performing market analysis in the mortgage finance and energy trading industries. Over the past 30 years Avril has acquired a unique and diverse business background with experience as a corporate employee working for large international banking, trading and software development companies in NY, CT and TX, as well as a small business owner and operator for 14 years in the retail and allied healthcare sectors in NM.

Val Zwiller, Scientific Advisor

Val is a Professor of Engineering Sciences at KTH Stockholm and CSO of the company Single Quantum is our team mentor. He is one of the few quantum scientists that have successfully brought table-top quantum optics setups onto integrated and commercially available devices. Since then, Single Quantum has installed single photon detector systems in the United States, Europe, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, China, Australia, Israel and South America.

Ray Farrell, IP Counsel

Ray Farrell is a senior partner and co-founder of Carter, DeLuca & Farrell, LLP, a leader in intellectual property law, with extensive experience in advising U.S. and international clients of all sizes on the effective development and utilization of their patent and trademark portfolios. He serves as strategic advisor and mentor to Qunnect regarding intellectual property matters.

Donna Tumminello, Academic Liason

Ms. Tumminello is the Assistant Director of Business Development for the Office of Technology Licensing and Industrial Relations at Stony Brook University. She is responsible for coordinating intellectual property management and technology transfer activities for the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, analyzing inventions, promoting partnerships with corporations and business, and developing and executing strategic licensing contracts. Donna facilitates the relationship between Qunnect, The Research Foundation for the State University of New York, and Stony Brook University's QIT Laboratory.