10 September 2020
AegiQ secures £1.4m UK funding to develop III-V-based quantum photonics
UK-based quantum photonics start-up AegiQ has secured £1.4m in funding from Government agency Innovate UK (which provides funding and support for business innovation as part of UK Research and Innovation) to develop secure quantum communications for fiber-optic and satellite-based applications. AegiQ will join a global pilot project to provide scalable, high-performing semiconductor technology for next-generation telecoms.
AegiQ has been awarded Innovate UK funding as part of a consortium of companies. It will build communication infrastructure resistant to hacking by new quantum methods. The start-up is also championing the use and development of quantum photonic technologies.
Co-founded by chief executive officer Dr Maksym (Max) Sich, chief technology officer Scott Dufferwiel, Maurice Skolnick and Jon Heffernan, AegiQ is a spin-out from the University of Sheffield and part of the UK government’s £70m funding initiative for quantum technology.
AegiQ is developing III-V-based quantum photonics, which is a superior method in terms of reliability and security, and leverages existing industrial processing techniques. The firm, which is part of this year’s Creative Destruction Lab’s Quantum Stream cohort, has also been named one of the Quantum Computing Hardware Companies Building the Future.
“Existing software-based encryption of telecom networks is vulnerable to quantum attack,” says Dufferwiel. “The risks are losing control of our communications and being faced with massively compromised security from quantum hackers. With the rise of quantum computing, standard encryption methods are no longer fit for purpose. A wide range of industries will require these quantum solutions in the near term,” he adds.
Quantum cryptography is viewed by the telecoms industry as the key to future-proofing security, by addressing advances in quantum computing that make traditional messaging encryption methods vulnerable to attacks. The UK National Quantum Technologies Programme expects “Quantum technologies to lead to major advances in [...] the finance, defence, aerospace, energy, infrastructure and telecommunications sectors.”
“Thousands of AegiQ systems will be required in each data center around the world, as they transition to using quantum technologies for communication and cloud computing,” says Sich. “Deploying our scalable technology with mass-production capabilities into initiatives like this project will position the UK as a world-leader in manufacturing quantum communications,” he reckons.
AegiQ is currently raising its seed round of investment. The Innovate UK funding will also enable the firm to invest in further R&D and production of its technology, underpinning the technology used in areas such as quantum communications, quantum sensing and information processing.
CSC involved in UK National Quantum Technologies Programme projects