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ICFO receives the Catalan Research Award for the Foundation of LuxQuanta

22 / 06 / 2023

ICFO has been awarded the “National Innovation Award for the Creation of a Science-Based Company” for the foundation of LuxQuanta. This award is one of the categories of the prestigious Catalan National Research Awards (Premis Nacionals de Recerca).

The award ceremony, which took place last night at the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya, was presented by the President of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Pere Aragonès, and the Counselor for Research and Universities and Chair of ICFO’s Board of Trustees, Joaquim Nadal.

It was such an honor to have in stage ICFO’s Director of Knowledge and Technology Transfer (KTT) Dr. Silvia Carrasco, ICREA Prof. at ICFO Dr. Valerio Pruneri, and LuxQuanta’s CEO, Vanesa Díaz as representants of the institution and company to receive the prize.

Dra. Carrasco proceeded also to give a beautiful speech, highlighting the unique example of LuxQuanta as clear evidence of the potential that the catalan enviornment has to offer for the development of future top-notch technology companies in within Catalunya. In her words:

Dra. Silvia Carrasco. ICFO's Director of Knowledge and technology Transfer (KTT)

LuxQuanta is a spectacular example from within the group of companies that have spun-out of ICFO to date of what is possible in Catalonia: to create unique and competitive high technology / deep-tech projects on a global scale, to attract talent and also to attract investment.”

For LuxQuanta, this recognition by the Catalan Government evidences our strong foundations as a top-notch technological company, propelling our name to continue positioning ourselves as leaders in the Quantum Cryptography market, always driven by scientific excellence.

Working in the cybersecurity field, the use of our QKD systems for the protection of Governments against the upcoming threat of Quantum Computers is far beyond critical. Sr. Pere Aragonès, president of the Catalan Government, emphatized during the closure speech the importance and honor to have LuxQuanta and its technology within our territory:

Molt Honorable Senyor Pere Aragonès. President of the Government of Catalonia

“We are grateful to ICFO and LuxQuanta for their invaluable contributions, enabling us to establish Catalonia and Barcelona as a prominent global reference point in Quantum Cryptography along with our parallel effort in Quantum Computing in Catalonia. These domains hold immense significance not only for the present but also for shaping the future. We remain committed to continuing supporting knowledge transfer from esteemed research centers and universities to enrich the very fabric of our society, economy, and public administrations.”


In its 33rd edition, these prestigious awards recognize and reflect the various aspects of research activities and initiatives in scientific communication and dissemination, scientific patronage, and public and private cooperation in R&D projects in Catalonia.

The Premis Nacionals de Recerca includes the prize given to ICFO and 6 more categories in research related fields.

  • National Research Award: Prof. Dr. Jaume Ventura
  • National Research Award for Young Talent: Dr. Júlia Vergara-Aert
  • Scientific Patronage Award: Fundació BBVA
  • Scientific Communication Award: Fundació La Marató de TV3 (for the program "La Marató de TV3")
  • Public-Private Partnership Award: UPF-CaixaBank-Economia en temps real.

Part of ICFO's & LuxQuanta's teams after the ceremony. ICFO's Professor Dr. Valerio Pruneri holding the prize next to Vanesa Díaz, LuxQuanta's CEO.

Our sincere congratulations from the entire team of LuxQuanta to all the winners as well, for a well-deserved recognition of their hard work, determination, and contributions to the research community and society.


LuxQuanta, ICFO’s tenth spin-off company, was constituted in May 2021 after incubating in ICFO’s KTT LaunchPad. The company works on developing and commercializing quantum key distribution systems (QKD) for cryptography, which offer an additional layer of security for the communications of public and private entities. LuxQuanta’s technology is based on the research carried out in the Optoelectronics group, led by ICREA Professor at ICFO Dr. Valerio Pruneri, 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 is off to a particularly promising journey. Not long after its constitution, the company received investment from industry leaders, including the multinational companies Corning and GTD, representing an important step forward in establishing the company as a unique provider of quantum-safe security solutions for current communication infrastructures.

In addition, thanks to a fruitful collaboration with the Ministry of Digital Policies of the Government of Catalunya, in 2022, LuxQuanta successfully demonstrated the use of QKD systems in the transmission of critical information along a distance of more than 30km, connecting ICFO, in Castelldefels, and CTTI, in Barcelona.

In February 2023, LuxQuanta announced the launch of its first commercial product system - NOVA LQ®- based on Continuous Variable Quantum Key Distribution (CV-QKD) technology, standing out as an excellent solution for secure communication, compatible with conventional telecommunication technologies and capable of being integrated into existing optical fiber links without the need for dedicated optical fibers.


ICFO continues to collaborate closely with LuxQuanta, notably in the European Quantum Communication Infrastructure (EuroQCI) Initiative as coordinators of national EuroQCI programs in Spain. Both are playing leading roles in national collaborations in designing and deploying a secure quantum communication infrastructure that will connect the cities of Barcelona and Madrid. All national programs around Europe will be executing the same tasks to achieve, in the long run, a secure quantum network spanning the whole EU, including its overseas territories.

As part of the EU effort to deploy a quantum secure network all over Europe, LuxQuanta is leading a consortium of companies called QUARTER. The overall mission of this joint venture is to mature the Quantum Communications technologies into a more advanced maturity level and deploy it over the European countries, securing the most critical data of the Eu.

While acknowledging the exciting potential of LuxQuanta which was the impetus for the National Award for Innovation, Dr Carrasco concluded her acceptance by assuring that ICFO

“will continue to work hard to make this dream of creating jobs with high added value possible in Catalonia, and contribute to an economy based on knowledge, together with all our colleagues in the Catalan research system.”

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