Quantum Physics in Communications and Cryptography for New Technologies

The Project

Quantum physics challenges our most basics intuitions, yet it provides astonishingly accurate predictions on the behavior of matter and energy on the scale of atoms and below. Without it, we wouldn’t have developed useful technologies, such as lasers, LEDs, or transistors. Many more are about to come, such as quantum computers, as we are just at the beginning of a quantum technological revolution.

We invite you to take a journey to the core of quantum physics, starting from its foundations, and building day by day the basis to understand the upcoming quantum technologies. We’ll start with an introduction to the mathematical language (basic algebra and matrices) that will help us unfold the counterintuitive consequences of quantum physics. We will see how quantum physics is strictly connected to information processing and how it can improve current technologies, such as communications, cryptography, and computing through theoretical and practical activities in a friendly environment.

Even if it may seem incredible, quantum physics has an important impact on our daily life. Richard Feynman said that it is safe to say that nobody understands quantum mechanics. But during your stay at ICFO we challenge you to prove him wrong, to understand the basics of quantum physics and to discover how many new technologies can stem from it, so that you can be an active part of the second quantum revolution!



Matching profiles

This project is addressed to students interested in Physics, Photonics, Mathematics or Engineering.

Learning objectives
  • To understand the basic principles of quantum physics through the mathematical language.
  • To connect quantum physics to new upcoming technologies.
  • To experience and understand different aspects of scientific research.



Required materials


Coordinators of the project

Eduardo Beattie

  • Eduardo is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Photonics at ICFO, where he detects and manipulates single ions in a crystal to process quantum information.
  • Completed a bachelor's and master's degree in Physics at the University of Oxford, specialising in particle physics, lasers, and quantum information.
  • Worked as a freelance software developer over the vacations from university, developing web automation projects with Python.
  • Was born and raised in Madrid in a bilingual Spanish/English household.

Teresa Dimitra Karanikolaou

  • Currently she is a PhD-student in Theoretical Quantum Nano-Photonics at ICFO led by Prof. Darrick Chang. Her research is focused on atom-light interactions, optical traps, decoherence in quantum states.
  • Former Research Engineer at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, Garching, Munich. Projects on tensor network states, skilled in Python programming.
  • BSc in Physics from the University of Athens.
  • MSc in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics in the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich.
  • Degree in High School Education in Mathematics and Physics from the Technical University in Munich. Teaching experience in high schools and universities.

Leo Feldmann

  • Joined ICFO as a Ph.D. student where he works on storing photons in solid-state quantum memories
  • Did Physics Bachelor and Master at the Technical University Darmstadt in Germany
  • After work he does parkour/gymnastics and occasionally play bass
  • At BIYSC he helps preparing, testing and supervising the quantum key distribution experiment

Jonathan Haenni

  • Jonathan is currently a Ph.D. student at ICFO, in the group of quantum photonics with solids and atoms (QPSA).
  • Education: Microengineering at EPF Lausanne (Bachelor & Master), ETH Zürich (Bachelor), University of Geneva (Master thesis).
  • Hobbies: Gymnastics, Olympic weightlifting, sailing and triathlon.
  • BIYSC role: Member of the team supervising the experimental part about Quantum Key Distribution.

María Hernández Ruiz

  • Currently, she is a Ph.D. student at ICFO focusing on quantum sensing in the Atomic Quantum Optics Group.
  • She studied physics in the University of Granada, Spain where she developed a passion for optics.
  • She did her Erasmus studies in France to study further about optics. Moreover, she completed an internship in Portugal where she learnt about photonics crystals.
  • She continued her studies at the University of Southampton (UK), where she earned her MSc in Optical Fibers and Photonics Engineering.

Zoi Melissari

  • Outreach Project Manager at ICFO, part of the KTT team led by Dr. Silvia Carrasco.
  • Organizing ICFO outreach activities and managing the CARLA project, the 360 CARLA follow up project, the ´Be an ICFOnian for a Day´ program, and the Barcelona International Youth Science Challenge (BIYSC).
  • Joint Ph.D. in Chemistry and Spectroscopy between Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Ireland, and the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the Netherlands.
  • MSc in Translational Research in Molecular Biology and Genetics by Democritus University of Thrace (DUTH), Greece.
  • Bachelor degree of Pharmacy by Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH), Greece.

Antonio Sampaoli

  • Antonio is currently doing his Ph.D. at ICFO in the group “Photon harvesting in plants and biomolecules.”
  • He studies the folding/unfolding of proteins with ultrafast spectroscopy methods combined with molecular dynamics simulations.
  • He graduated in Physics at the University of Bologna in 2019.
  • His master's study was based in general relativity and high-energy physics, quantum field theory. He did his final thesis in String theory phenomenology. He graduated in Theoretical Physics in 2021.
  • After graduation he worked for four months as Data Analysts in an IT company and then as a Mathematics and Physics teacher in a high school for one year.

Anna Steffinlongo

  • Anna is currently a Ph.D. student at ICFO in the “Quantum Information Theory” group, led by prof. Antonio Acín.
  • Mostly interested in quantum cryptography and quantum nonlocality.
  • Graduated in Physics (bachelor) in 2019 and Physics of matter (master) in 2022 at the University of Padua.
  • Bachelor thesis in Padua (Consorzio RFX) as a part of ITER project. Master thesis in Vienna (IQOQI and TUWien) focused on the investigation of quantum nonlocality.

Raja Yehia

  • He is currently a post-doctoral researcher at ICFO in the Quantum Information Theory group, working on the energetic consumption of quantum technologies.
  • He completed his PhD in Paris (LIP6 - Sorbonne Université) in 2022 with a work titled "Design and Optimization of Tools for the Quantum Internet".
  • His scientific interests cover Quantum communications and networking, Quantum cryptography and the analysis of the cost of quantum technologies.
  • He graduated in Computer Science and Cryptography in Télécom ParisTech in 2018.
  • He likes playing music (guitar, piano, percussion) and jam. He also enjoys teaching as well as creating activities for summer camps.

Laura Zarraoa

  • Currently she is a Ph.D. student in experimental Atomic Quantum Optics at ICFO, studying the interaction of single photons with a single atom.
  • Physics Bachelor in Madrid (UAM), with a thesis project on Silicon Nanowires and Scanning Electron Microscopy.
  • MSc. Physics and Nanotechnology, with specialization in Quantum Engineering in Copenhagen (DTU) and Munich (TUM), where she worked with solid state impurities and photonic crystal structures for quantum information.
  • Other hobbies: Sports! Including martial arts (karate), climbing and acrobatic stuff like slackline or acroyoga. Wildlife photography, she likes to spot and capture with lens every type of animal she can find.
The center

The Institute of Photonic Science (ICFO) is a young research institution that aims to advance the very limits of knowledge in photonics, namely the science and technology of harnessing light.