Available student project - Space Based Quantum Communications

Research fields

  • Quantum Science and Technology
  • Quantum Science and Technology
Artist impression of optical satellite communications

Project details

Modern telecommunications have revolutionised the way we communicate in the current information intensive society. Quantum communication is a paradigm shift in telecommunications. By exploiting the quintessential characteristics of quantum physics, quantum communication can provide information theoretically secure ways to communicate. Optical fibre-based networks employing quantum key distribution have been demonstrated and are the subject of commercial development. However, longer range, such as inter-continental, quantum communications will require the use of free space optical links to/from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites.
The aim of our program at ANU is to develop a satellite quantum communications network. Similar to other international efforts we will begin with demonstrations of quantum key distribution before moving to advanced protocols such as teleportation. Unique from fibre-based communication, a free space optical link is subject to fading channels and noise from atmospheric scintillation. Our plan is to implement advanced Adaptive Optics techniques used in astronomy in the optical ground station to reduce these effects.

We are looking for multiple motivated PhD students to join our team working on Satellite Quantum Communication at the ANU. The program will contribute towards building Australia’s own satellite-ground optical link. This work will be carried out in collaboration Australia’s Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group.

PhD students in our program will learn and contribute to some of the following exciting topics: Study of quantum entanglement in the context of quantum communications, advanced optical communication systems using adaptive optics, relativistic quantum mechanics applied to ground and space communication system and neural network enhanced communication system. Students will also have travel opportunities to partner with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Germany and National Institute for Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in Japan.

This project is sponsored by the DST Group (see www.dst.defence.gov.au). The candidate must be an Australian citizen and have been awarded the equivalent of a First-Class Honours degree in Engineering or Physics. Prospective students can expect to receive stipend and support up to $50,000 towards their studies and travels.

Required background

A background in physics, or related engineering courses (communications, control and digital signal processing), is a requirement and keen interest to explore and learn about quantum optics is highly desirable.

Project suitability

This research project can be tailored to suit students of the following type(s)
  • Phd or Masters

Contact supervisor

Thearle, Oliver profile

Other supervisor(s)

Lam, Ping Koy profile

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