CST Global to Develop Single-Photon LEDs for Network Security Applications

CST Global, a UK-based III-V optoelectronics foundry and the wholly-owned subsidiary of Sivers IMA Holding AB, reported that the company leads the gallium antimony/gallium arsenide (GaSb/GaAs) Quantum Ring Single Photon LED (QR_SPLED) project. The QR_SPLED project hopes to mass-produce low-cost, single-photon LEDs (SPLEDs). The potential application of the technology is intrinsic network security.

Dr. Manus Hayne from the Department of Physics at Lancaster University is the academic partner on the project. Thomas Slight, a research engineer at CST Global and the project lead, pointed out that single photon streams can deliver a unique encryption key. Slight also noted that because it is just a stream of single photons, any attempt to measure or eavesdrop can be instantly detected.

Slight explained, “To successfully produce next generation, secure networks we must first mass-produce low-cost, single-photon, LED sources. 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.”

QR_SPLED Project Gets UK Government Funding

The QR-SPLED project (ref: EP/P034233/1) gets funding from Innovate UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), in the framework of the UK National Quantum Technologies program. The project participants expect to obtain additional funding for developing a packaged, SPLED solution later.

With total UK funding of £252,649, the project hopes to ensure that the critical knowledge and expertise that the project generates will remain in the UK. The project participants also want to enable CST Global, and other commercial partners, to be at the forefront of the emerging, next generation, quantum telecommunications-driven network security.

The QR-SPLED project runs from March 2017 until February 2018.