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ICFO & LuxQuanta win the National Prize of Innovation

01 / 02 / 2023

ICFO & LuxQuanta win the National Prize of Innovation

The Government of Catalonia's Department of Research and Universities and the Foundation for Research and Innovation of Catalonia (FCRi) have recently given ICFO the highest recognition for its technology spin-off company, LuxQuanta.

ICFO, a frontier research center, has made technology transfer one of its main objectives and is dedicated to ensuring that advancements from its laboratories positively impact society. Silvia Carrasco, the Director of the Knowledge and Technology Transfer (KTT) Unit at ICFO, stated that they were thrilled and proud to receive the award, highlighting that ICFO has created eleven spin-off companies that employ approximately 100 people. She described LuxQuanta as the perfect example of their mission to perform frontier research, innovate globally, and ultimately bring the benefits of these innovations to society, generating jobs, wealth, and economic growth directly for Catalonia.

LuxQuanta was formed in May 2021 after incubating in ICFO's KTT LaunchPad. The company focuses on developing and commercializing quantum key distribution systems (QKD) for cryptography, providing an additional layer of security for the communications of both public and private entities. LuxQuanta's technology is based on research carried out in the Optoelectronics group, led by ICREA Professor at ICFO Dr. Valerio Pruneri, who is also a founding member of the company. Drs Sebastian Etcheverry (CTO) and Saeed Ghasemi (head of the Signal Processing Unit), co-founders of LuxQuanta, helped develop prototypes of the technology during their time as postdoctoral researchers in the group.

LuxQuanta has a promising future. Shortly after its formation in 2021, LuxQuanta received investments from industry leaders, including Corning and GTD. This represents an essential step forward in establishing the company as a unique provider of quantum-safe security solutions for current communication infrastructures. Additionally, thanks to a fruitful collaboration with the Ministry of Digital Policies of the Government of Catalunya, last year, LuxQuanta successfully demonstrated the use of QKD systems in transmitting critical information over a distance of more than 30km, connecting ICFO in Castelldefels and CTTI in Barcelona.

The European Commission has recently launched the European Quantum Communication Infrastructure (EuroQCI) Initiative. As such, both ICFO and LuxQuanta have been chosen as coordinators of national EuroQCI programs in Spain. They aim to collaborate with each other and other national programs in designing and deploying a secure quantum communication infrastructure that will connect the cities of Barcelona and Madrid. All national programs in Europe will execute the same tasks to achieve, in the long run, a secure quantum network that covers the whole EU, including its overseas territories.

Vanesa Díaz, LuxQuanta's CEO, is equally delighted with ICFO's award and the direction of the company. She notes that the award offers the company great visibility nationally and across Europe. Quantum communications are still relatively unknown when compared to computing. As they consolidate their first commercial ventures, letting people know of their existence and promoting their cutting-edge technology that can protect their future communications is of vital importance to LuxQuanta.

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