Lecture Pepijn Pinkse: “Ready or not quantum technology is here”

Lecture Pepijn Pinkse: “Ready or not quantum technology is here”

To many people, quantum technology still seems like science fiction or what we will only encounter in the distant future. But in his inaugural lecture at the University of Twente, Pepijn Pinkse talks about quantum technology that already exists now and about future ones that threaten our encryption methods. This is why he argues to prepare ourselves now: “The best moment to get quantum security in place was three years ago. The second best moment is now.”


A real or “universal” quantum computer threatens much of our modern cryptography. Payment transactions, encrypted internet and other forms of digital security are at risk. This quantum computer must operate with error correction to work well enough. This is not happening yet but the moment it will is getting closer. In three years,¬†Twente spin-off Quix Quantum will deliver a prototype universal quantum computer¬†to the German Centre for Aerospace. The Twente quantum computer runs on light and is already leading the way for such systems in Europe.


Non-universal quantum computers made to perform certain, select, tasks already exist. “With ‘Quantum Key Distribution’, you exchange secret digital keys using already proven quantum technology,” Pinkse says. Secret services are not necessarily fans he jokes: “Why exactly we physicists don’t understand. Maybe because they can’t build backdoors into it?” But the technology is already being sold commercially.

Another quantum technology that is already working is ‘Quantum-Secure Authentication’. The technology behind it was developed in Twente by Pinkse and others. It uses a physical key that you cannot copy even if you possess all the information in that key. With just a few photons, it is possible to check the authenticity of the key. Unfortunately, the technology currently only works at a very short distance, but Pinkse may have a solution for that too. “Remote reading works as part of the research project of one of my PhD students: Daan de Ruiter,” Pinkse says.


The Twente spin-off Quix Quantum is leading the way in the development of quantum photonic processors, according to Pinkse. He says: “The US-based PsiQuantum is working on its version of the optical quantum computer, but has not even attempted to sell anything yet. While the Twente company Quix – with much less investment – has already sold several quantum processors.”

Source: UT


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