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Integrated Photonics for Quantum Space Applications



Prime contractor
Organisational Unit
Activity Type
Implementation progress
13 September 2021

Duration: 12 months


The implementation of Quantum technologies (QT) shall lead to significant future technological advances. QT can perform a wide range of tasks such as absolute secure messaging, exponentially fast computation, super-resolution sensing, the most accurate measurements of frequency & time, exponentially large-capacity communication, and minimal disturbance measurements that are intractable with classical technology.  These are highly relevant for future space missions. Many of the space-applicable quantum technologies depend on complex bulk electro-optical systems. One of the limiting factors in bringing the technology to a mature level is the full integration of individual components. Integrated photonics can transform system approaches to achieve their full potential for space applications. This is now possible by leveraging new and novel silicon nitride and crystalline integrated photonics, compatible with heritage CMOS processing techniques. This combined platform provides a bridge between the bulk lab-based quantum optical systems and the compact integrated units required for space. The goal of this study is to define the core integrated photonic needs of ESA’s strategic quantum applications. It will show where the novel photonic integrated platforms can serve as a core technology platform to enable these applications and secure ESA’s medium and long terms goals by verifying this technology platform for the most challenging projects. Previous work has never analyzed the specific needs of ESA’s strategic quantum interests using integrated photonics. This study provides a clear development and implementation roadmap for ESA to meet future challenges. It will deal with the following strategic ESA areas: Metrology with Ultra Cold Atoms, Quantum Communications, Passive Technology platforms for experiments in Gravity Gradiometry, Distribution, Comparison and Use of Ultra-Stable Frequencies

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Integrated Photonics for Quantum Space Applications