Meet the scientists behind AegiQ, the University’s spin-out company with over two decades of quantum knowledge

Revolutionary quantum discoveries a century ago have determined the world we now live in: the information age. This new age, governed by technology, is characterised by a shift from traditional industry to an economy based on information technology. It began with physicists unpicking the inner secrets of the atom and the quantum nature of its smaller particles 100 years ago. Were it not for quantum science we wouldn’t have modern computers, smartphones, LED TVs and many more of the everyday items we’re used to.

We’re about to enter a new age of quantum technology that will change the efficiency and processes of many industries around the world. At the forefront you’ll find the likes of Google, IBM, BT, and now, our University’s latest spin-out company, AegiQ led by CEO Dr Maksym Sich and CTO Dr Scott Dufferwiel.

Find out more about AegiQ

Dr Maksym Sich and Dr Scott Dufferwiel

Dr Maksym Sich

We spoke to Dr Maksym Sich, CEO of AegiQ, to find out more about this exciting, new development:

What first drew you to quantum technology?

A pure chance. When I did my undergrad in Applied Physics in Kyiv, at the end of the second year we had to pick a specialisation and I went for Quantum Physics because in that year all the smartest people on the course were going there.

Can you tell us more about the technology and what it will be used for?

We work with semiconductor nanostructures. Our core technology is Identical Single-Photon Sources – devices which emit a single photon after every trigger. Our advanced processing techniques and fundamental designs allow us to achieve the fastest possible (near-lifetime-limited) single-photon emission, which retains high similarity between successive photons.

Our technology is the enabling technology for Gen. 2 (based on entanglement) quantum optical applications: cryptographic communications, information processing, and imaging. More specifically the technology is key for quantum key distribution (QKD) and quantum encryption for fibre-optic-based or free-space (satellite) applications; applications related to quantum computing such as linking computing nodes or even performing all-optical quantum information processing; precision multi-photon microscopy and entanglement-based microscopy.

The applications of this technology will:

  • enhance our cyber security, making communications completely secure against hacking
  • make artificial intelligence more powerful and contribute to the world’s most powerful intelligence systems
  • lead to smarter use of energy and water, helping us to achieve higher environmental standards and efficiency
  • enable the design of revolutionary, more efficient and more complex propulsion systems and structures to enhance material science and aerospace

How does it feel to potentially be the first to crack quantum technology?

It feels awesome!

What does AegiQ mean for the University and the region?

In the short-term this means development of new high-tech research and manufacturing facilities creating high-skilled and high-paid jobs. In the long-run we can create a major tech hub in the country and globally, now that the Silicon Valley is losing its lure and competitiveness in the new generations of technologies, such as quantum.

Where would you like to see AegiQ in 10 years?

Beating Google, IBM, BT and the likes in quantum information computing by providing a global quantum cloud – an integrated quantum internet and computing solution, which would include ground fibre-optic and satellite links with direct feed into quantum computing nodes.