Electronic Products & Technology

Canada enters quantum space race with U of Waterloo project

Stephen Law   

Electronics Engineering

Waterloo’s Quantum Encryption and Science Satellite (QEYSSat) initiative, announced as part of the federal government’s recent investment into space-related emerging technologies, joins a global race to quantum cybersecurity via satellites.

“As Canada’s leader in quantum technology, I want to thank the Government of Canada for their support in our university’s development of next generation computing and cybersecurity,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of the Univeristy of Waterloo.

The QEYSSat project is led by Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) and will advance quantum cryptography research by demonstrating ultra-secure quantum communication via global satellites. The project aims to solve the long-standing problem of securely transporting cryptographic quantum keys between distant locations.

“Quantum cryptography keys cannot be copied or directly measured without detection,” said Principal Investigator Thomas Jennewein, IQC member and professor in Waterloo’s department of Physics and Astronomy who has led the QEYSSat project since 2009.  “We will demonstrate ultra-secure key distribution on a global scale and help Canada and the world move towards a new generation of secure communication.”


Generation of encryption keys and conduct fundamental investigations of long-distance quantum entanglement.

The QEYSSat mission will demonstrate the generation of encryption keys and conduct fundamental investigations of long-distance quantum entanglement. The results will have an impact on future cryptographic schemes and quantum technologies for a variety of fields such as banking, transportation, and information technology.

“IQC’s QEYSSat project launches Canada into the global quantum space race,” says Raymond Laflamme, executive director of IQC. “I’m pleased that the Government of Canada recognizes IQC’s global leadership in quantum research and I look forward to advancing quantum cybersecurity for future generations.”

To date, Jennewein’s team has worked with a number of Canadian partners, including INO, Xiphos Technologies, Neptec, Excelitas, COMDEV, University of Toronto Space Flight Laboratory, Institute for Quantum Science and Technology at the University of Caglary, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and TRIUMF. The team has received funding support from a number of organizations, including CSA, DRDC, Industry Canada, ORF, NSERC, CFI, and CIFAR.

Most recently, Jennewein and his team successfully tested the secure transmission of a quantum key from a ground source to a receiver on an aircraft provided by the National Research Council of Canada.




Stories continue below

Print this page

Related Stories