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AegiQ secures £1.4m for quantum comms

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Sheffield University spin-out to build III-V semiconductor platform for quantum cryptography

AegiQ, a UK quantum photonics start-up, has secured a total of £1.4 million in funding from Innovate UK to develop secure quantum communications for fibre-optic and satellite based applications. AegiQ will join a global pilot project to provide scalable, high-performing semiconductor technology for next generation telecoms.

AegiQ has been awarded Innovate UK funding as part of a consortium of companies. It will build communication infrastructure resistant to hacking by new quantum methods. The start-up is also championing the use and development of quantum photonic technologies. Led by CEO and co-founder Dr. Max Sich, AegiQ is a spin-out of the University of Sheffield and part of the UK government's £70m funding initiative to secure the UK’s position as a world-leader in quantum technology.

Quantum cryptography is viewed as the key to future-proofing security by the telecoms industry, by addressing advances in quantum computing which make traditional messaging encryption methods vulnerable to attacks. The UK National Quantum Technologies Programme expects "Quantum technologies to lead to major advances in [...] the finance, defence, aerospace, energy, infrastructure and telecommunications sectors.”

AegiQ is developing III-V semiconductor-based quantum photonics using gallium, indium and arsenic. The company, which is part of this year’s Creative Destruction Lab's Quantum Stream cohort, has also been named one of the Quantum Computing Hardware Companies Building the Future.

“Existing software-based encryption of telecom networks is vulnerable to quantum attack,” commented Scott Dufferwiel, AegiQ’s CTO. “The risks are losing control of our communications and being faced with massively compromised security from quantum hackers. With the rise of quantum computing, standard encryption methods are no longer fit for purpose. A wide range of industries will require these quantum solutions in the near term.”

Sich added: “Thousands of AegiQ systems will be required in each data centre around the world, as they transition to using quantum technologies for communication and cloud computing. Deploying our scalable technology with mass production capabilities into initiatives like this project will position the UK as a world-leader in manufacturing quantum communications.”

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