Affordable Quantum Communication for Everyone: Revolutionizing the Quantum Ecosystem from Fabrication to Application

Project ID: 820474

Co-funded by the European Commission within the Quantum Flagship initiative of Horizon 2020 framework

Duration: October 2018 – July 2022


AIT (Austria), IMEC (Belgium), University of Vienna (Austria), University of Paderborn (Germany), University of Innsbruck (Austria), Technical University of Denmark (Denmark), Eindhoven University of Technology (The Netherlands), Micro-Photon Devices (Italy), Politecnico Milano (Italy), Smart Photonics (The Netherlands), ICCS/NTUA (Greece), VPI Photonics (Germany), Cordon Electronics (Italy), Mellanox (Israel), Cosmote (Greece).


The project "UNIQORN - Affordable Quantum Communication for Everyone: Revolutionizing the Quantum Ecosystem from Fabrication to Application" has set itself the goal of miniaturizing quantum technologies using photonic integration and making them available to users as system-on-chip solutions. It will develop the key components for the quantum communications systems of the future, which are used, among other things, to generate true random numbers and secure key distribution. These include specialized quantum optical sources and detector technologies, which are implemented on established technology platforms, similar to mass production in microelectronics. They are the basis for highly miniaturized optical systems that can fully exploit quantum mechanical properties such as entanglement and squeezed light.

Moritz Kleinert from the Hybrid PICs group of the Photonic Components department heads the three-year project UNIQORN at HHI. The core of the integration in UNIQORN is the "micro-optical bench technology", which is being developed by HHI scientist Hauke Conradi. It is based on the generation of free-space optical areas inside photonic integrated chips with the help of specially adapted micro lenses. Thus, it is possible to combine large optical components such as crystals for generating entangled photons with integrated optical components and functionalities on a single PolyBoard chip. As a result, known material systems for quantum technology can be combined directly with photonic integrated circuits, without having to compromise on the performance of the micro-optical components.

UNIQORN - Making quantum photonics affordable

Blending on-chip ultrathin-film elements, nonlinear crystals, polymer interposers, and single-photon detectors, the UNIQORN project aims to develop a quantum system-on-chip methodology that brings low-cost assembly to the field of quantum optics.