AQuaSec - Agile Quantum Safe Communications

The UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) brings together leading research and business to tackle the big societal and industrial challenges today.

Several major quantum technology projects have been funded, including AQuaSec – a collaboration led by Toshiba which aims to:

  • Develop technologies for ‘quantum-safe’ communications which can’t be attacked by a quantum computer.
  • Develop flexible, low cost and user-friendly prototypes for quantum-safe communication networks.
  • Establish world-leading capability in quantum communication components such as photon sources, detectors, entropy generators, and Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) modules and establish a complete supply chain in the UK
  • Establish a process for security evaluation and certification in the UK
  • Demonstrate the efficient integration of quantum-safe communications in networks and applications by working with end-users in a number of market sectors
  • Explore the commercial opportunities for this technology.

The project involves Toshiba working with both the EPSRC Quantum Communications Hub and QuantIC, UK Hub for Quantum Enhanced Imaging along with 12 additional project partners.

QuantIC research teams from Heriot-Watt University and the University of Glasgow bring ultra-sensitive Germanium on Silicon Single Photon Avalanche Diode’s (SPADs) to the project.  Traditionally, CMOS SPADs are commercially available but the bandgap of silicon precludes operation beyond about 1 micrometer (1 µm) wavelength.  Adding Germanium absorbers onto Silicon avalanche regions allow SPADs to operation at the longer wavelengths required for telecommunications applications.

AQuaSec was awarded £5.7M by Innovate UK through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.



QuantIC partners, Heriot-Watt University and University of Glasgow are part of the component developers for the project.

Aquasec partners



First published: 6 January 2022