Australia’s QuantX Labs has secured $750,000 funding from the Department of Defence for a research project aimed at revolutionising a secured position, navigation, and timing (PNT) capability for defence applications.
The project, titled ‘Quantum-Secured Time Transfer for Resilient PNT,’ will seek to harness quantum technology to guarantee the authenticity of received PNT data, making spoofing impossible.
The project builds upon the success of work conducted under a previous grant from the Defence Innovation Partnership, which brought together specialists from the University of Adelaide, QuantX Labs and the Defence Science and Technology Group.
The new project encompasses several crucial objectives including demonstration of quantum-secured time transfer using entangled photons, development of a classical two-way time transfer across a free-space link, and investigating the impact of loss and turbulence on both time transfer methods.
Another objective will be to synchronise two Cryoclocks, QuantX’s flagship product, which the claims are the world’s most precise clocks.
Cryoclocks are being used as the driving sources for critical radar facilities. The need for synchronisation between multiple radar sites is a key challenge for new radar architectures.
The project will culminate in a demonstration of quantum-secured time transfer over a free space optical link, which will be used to synchronise small chip-scale atomic clocks that are suited for drone and satellite deployment.
The company hopes this approach will allow it to transfer the performance of a very high-quality ground clock onto those portable platforms.
Key partner, Inovor Technologies, will assist in the eventual deployment of the technology onto a satellite.
“Quantum-secured time transfer offers a new level of security and accuracy for defence operations,” said Dr Martin O’Connor, General Manager at QuantX Labs.
“We are excited to embark on this research journey, which has the potential to safeguard our troops and assets in contested environments.”