Jolly Phi    
Quantum hacking lab
    Institute for Quantum Computing      University of Waterloo  


  • Postdoc positions in our group are available. You will primarily do research in our lab, but at the same time be in a very lively quantum information environment consisting of 20+ groups in both theory and experiment, with lots of learning opportunities. You can also expect a higher salary than the Canadian average for postdocs. If you have several journal publications in quantum cryptography or a closely related field, you may qualify. A significant experimental background is required. Contact Vadim.

  • November 2014. Video lectures by Vadim Makarov introduce you into our field of research. Watch the basics & technology of quantum cryptography (50 min, 2014), or an extended lecture course (about 3 hours, 2014): introduction to quantum cryptography, quantum hacking part 1, quantum hacking part 2. For a more general perspective, see Michele Mosca’s public lecture Cybersecurity in a quantum world: will we be ready?

  • September 2014. We congratulate our collaborator Feihu Xu with the Best Student Oral Presentation prize he won at QCrypt 2014. Our group has contributed to the paper he presented at the conference.

  • Cover of Phys. Rev. Lett. vol. 112, no. 7 (PDF)  February 2014. We have shown that security loopholes in quantum communication systems can be created on-demand, by laser damage. Our article is featured in Physics Synopsys, and on the cover of Physical Review Letters. Read the article (PDF).

  • August 2013. Huff... QCrypt the 3rd international conference on quantum cryptography, hosted at IQC this year, is over. It was a heavy task for our institute and our students to house it.

  • January 2013. Our laboratory has been the first at the Institute for Quantum Computing to move to the new Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre building. We are located in room QNC 3303 (and will relocate to QNC 3301 once additional construction there is complete). We have to say the building is fantastic, and the wait has been worth it.

  • September 2012. Quantum teleportation experiment over record 143 km distance has been published in Nature (also available in free preprint). Here you can see
    Alice & Charlie on La Palma, in Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope. Green tracking beam is pointing over 143 km to Tenerife. Image ©2011 IQOQI Vienna
     sender Alice on La Palma 
    and Bob on Tenerife, in ESA Optical Ground Station telescope. Green tracking beam is pointing over 143 km to La Palma. Image ©2011 IQOQI Vienna
     receiver Bob on Tenerife,
    shooting bright green alignment beams at each other. The actual quantum states being teleported are carried by red single photons along the same path, and are invisible to the eye. Our lab’s modest contribution to this experiment was to provide special low-noise single-photon detectors, used in Bob on Tenerife. See press about this experiment.
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Our research

The main direction of research for the Quantum hacking lab is testing practical security of quantum communication systems, finding and demonstrating new loopholes, and helping to develop and test countermeasures. For example, quantum cryptography is absolutely secure in theory. However, practical implementations often deviate from the theory description, which leaves loopholes for eavesdropping. By openly publishing all our results, we ensure hardening of quantum communication technology against all possible attacks. This work will also contribute to certification standards for quantum communication equipment.

Here are some short news articles about us (picked from larger press archive):

We also do some single-photon detector development for ultra-long-distance quantum communications, e.g., via satellite.

Current collaborations

   Click for larger image. ©2014 Vadim Makarov, Scott McManus / IQC
Our lab and students in 2014
Click for larger image. ©2014 Vadim Makarov
Guest researchers Kejin Wei and Feihu Xu work with our PhD student Shihan Sajeed
Click for larger image. ©2014 Vadim Makarov
Undergraduate student Jin Gyu Lim works on an experiment
Click for larger image. ©2014 Vadim Makarov
PhD student Anqi Huang with her team’s prize-winning carving at IQC Halloween party 2014
Whiteboard drawing by our students
Our cat is always alive!
Live demo of ID Quantique’s commercial quantum cryptography equipment at Quantum-nano centre’s grand opening in Waterloo. Image ©2012 IQC / Peter Kovacs
Public demo of commercial quantum cryptography equipment
4-channel single-photon detector prototype for mobile quantum receiver. Image ©2014 Vadim Makarov / IQC
Prototype of single-photon detector module for Canadian quantum communication satellite (developed in collaboration with T. Jennewein)
 Eve :(