ECE Team Earns $1M Grant to Create First Intercity Quantum Network in Ohio

Posted: July 23, 2023

The Center for Quantum Information Science and Engineering (CQISE) will become the administrative home for a $1 million, three-year congressionally directed award. 

This project aims to create a quantum communications link to establish a quantum-secure-network between The Ohio State University in Columbus and the Air Force of Institute of Technology (AFIT) in Dayton. It becomes the first part of a larger vision for a quantum network that extends to other sites and cities in Ohio and the surrounding areas. 

CQISE co-directors are Professor Ronald M. Reano in the Ohio State Electrical and Computer Engineering Department as lead PI, and Professor Ezekiel Johnston-Halperin in the Ohio State Physics Department as co-lead PI. A team of multidisciplinary students and researchers will be involved in the project as well.

The goal is to install and operate the quantum network, set-up laboratory and field experiments and collect and analyze data between transmitter and receiver. The quantum links will involve optical fiber communications and the resultant characterization of required laser powers system, receiver signal-to-noise ratios, and link stabilities as a function of time and distance. 

Data will be collected and measured in three different length scales: short range (year one), intermediate (year two) and long range (year three). 

“The first tests will be in relatively controlled environments in order to baseline the hardware and conduct a thorough characterization of the quantum links by implementing basic protocols. The links will then be implemented in the field, which will be very exciting.” said Professor Reano. 

Field implementation will involve interfacing the project with the Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet) to access in-ground optical fiber. OARnet technical staff will work with the university to plug transmitter and receivers with data being collected during various times of the day to characterize and optimize the network’s operation in dynamic real-world conditions over increasingly larger distances.      

“We will investigate a variety of use-cases for point-to-point quantum key distribution. Applications where there is high volume and high traffic present in the network justify quantum security. Two specific use cases include the financial sector and the medical record sector," Johnston-Halperin said.

Reano and Johnston-Halperin acknowledge tremendous support at multiple levels for the new project. Special thanks are extended to Senator Sherrod Brown and Congressman Mike Carey, to Stan Skocki (OSU Associate Vice President for Government Affairs and Director for Federal Relations), and The Enterprise for Research Innovation and Knowledge (ERIK).

Learn more about the CQISE focus.

Category: In the News