The Australian National University has welcomed ACT Government funding to bolster high-technology quantum communications for the space industry.
ACT Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research Meegan Fitzharris has announced $375,000 in government funding for the collaborative quantum communications project involving ANU, UNSW Canberra, and ANU spinoff companies QuintessenceLabs and Liquid Instruments.
The project will demonstrate secure quantum communications links between scientists at the Advanced Instrumentation Technology Centre (AITC) at Mount Stromlo and the UNSW Canberra optical telescope.
The project will be led by Professor Ping Koy Lam and Professor Daniel Shaddock at the Department of Quantum Science in the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering, andAssociate Professor Andrew Lambert at UNSW Canberra.
The project will demonstrate the technology for the ACT to host an Australian quantum ground station to support secure space communication links. The project partners will contribute $300,000 on top of the ACT Government funding.
"The ACT funding will help ANU strengthen its position in the global space industry and as a key collaborator with industry on the industries of the future," said ANU Pro-Vice Chancellor of Innovation and Advancement Professor Mick Cardew-Hall.
"Secure quantum communications will be crucial to future space industries, and we welcome the ACT Government support for this key project."
ANU is committed to playing a leading role in the global space industry, with the $25 million AITCat Mount Stromlo already a world-class facility for developing and testing astronomical instrumentation, small satellites, and space payloads.
AITC also hosts industry research partnerships and collaborations in astronomical instrumentation and space research.
The Space Based Quantum Communications funding will bring together the space, telescope, adaptive optics, quantum information and optical communications capabilities of UNSW Canberra, ANU, QuintessenceLabs and Liquid Instruments.