Quantum Payloads for Mobile Platforms: Satellites, Drones, and Vehicles
Abstract: Future quantum networks will be expected to operate in both fiber and free-space links interfacing both fixed infrastructure and mobile “on-the-go" platforms such as satellites, drones, planes, ships, and cars, etc. In this talk we will discuss two different initiatives focused on developing quantum payloads for mobile platforms and linking quantum networks between mobile platforms. The Space Entanglement and Annealing QUantum Experiment (SEAQUE) is one such project that aims to launch a compact polarization-entanglement source robust enough to withstand the space environment. With payload design components such as an integrated waveguide source and single liquid crystal (LC) tomography system, SEAQUE will pave the road towards implementing robust quantum space nodes within low size, weight, and power (SWaP) constraints. Through a laser annealing technique that has not previously been demonstrated in a space environment, SEAQUE will showcase self-healing capabilities to combat radiation damage on single-photon avalanche photodiodes (APDs), a key to extending future mission lifetimes. In addition to long-range free-space quantum networks using satellites, shorter-range quantum networks between cars and drones are necessary to solve the “last mile problem.” We discuss recent results of demonstrating Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) between two flying drones, as well as a flying drone and moving car. Additionally, we demonstrated quantum transmission between two vehicles traveling 70 mph on an interstate highway. Finally, we will present our future plans for integrating another SEAQUE entanglement source into our modular quantum platform for use on drones and cars. Quantum payloads and free-space quantum links are expected to provide unique insights into both fundamental tests of the laws of physics and produce more practical applications such as quantum secure communications, entanglement distribution, entanglement swapping, and Quantum Position Verification (QPV) using mobile platforms.
Bio: Kelsey Ortiz (3rd year physics PhD student) and Andrew Conrad (6th year ECE PhD student) work in the Kwiat quantum information group. Kelsey’s interests lie in waveguide entanglement sources and designing small optical systems. Andrew ‘s interests are in quantum communication links and practical Quantum Position Verification for mobile platforms.