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ICFO receives the 2022 National Innovation Award for creation of LuxQuanta

Date Announced: 26 Jun 2023

Silvia Carrasco, Vanesa Diaz, and Valerio Pruneri accept the distinguished award in a ceremony organized by the FCRi and the Generalitat de Catalunya.

ICFO – Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology – BIST

It was with great honor that ICFO’s Director of Knowledge and Technology Transfer (KTT) Dr. Silvia Carrasco, ICREA Prof. at ICFO Dr. Valerio Pruneri, and LuxQuant CEO, Vanesa Díaz mounted the stage at the award ceremony organized by the  Foundation for Research and Innovation of Catalonia (FCRi) and the Government of Catalonia to accept the 2022 National Innovation Award for the creation of a science-based company, LuxQuanta.

In the ceremony that took place last night at the Teatre Nacional de Catalonia, the President of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Pere Aragonès, and the Conseller for Research and Universities and Chair of ICFO’s Board of Trustees, Joaquim Nadal, presented ICFO with this prestigious award, along with the recipients of the National Research Award (Jaume Ventura), the National Research Award for Young Talent (Júlia Vergara-Aert) and awards in the categories of Scientific Patronage (Fundación BBVA), Scientific Communication, (Fundació La Marató de TV3 for the program “La Marató de TV3), and Public-Private partnerships (“UPF-CaixaBank-Economia en temps real”).

Dr. Carrasco received the award, commenting that “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.” 

LuxQuanta, ICFO’s tenth spin-off company, was constituted in May 2021 after incubating in ICFO’s KTT LaunchPad. The company works on the development and commercialization of quantum key distribution systems (QKD) for cryptography, which offer an addition 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 start.  Not long after its constitution, they received investment from industry leaders, including 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, the company 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.

While acknowledging the exciting potential of LuxQuanta that was the impetus for the National Award for Innovation, Dr Carrasco concluded her acceptance 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.”


ICFO – The Institute of Photonic Sciences
Mediterranean Technology Park
Av. Carl Friedrich Gauss, 3
08860 Castelldefels
Tel.: (+34) 93 553 4002
Fax: (+34) 93 553 4000

E-mail: secretariat@icfo.eu

Web Site: icfo.eu

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