Lancashire firms mission to provide 100% data security

INNOVATION: The Quantum Base team

INNOVATION: The Quantum Base team

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A Lancaster-based firm has embarked on a mission to provide 100 per cent secure identity to a range of products. DAVID NOWELL reports.

UK and European patent and trade mark attorneys, Appleyard Lees has awarded a Growth Fund grant to specialist quantum security start up, Quantum Base.

The award will help Quantum Base bring to market the world’s first 100 per cent secure identity or authentication tag that can be used to protect anything, from mobile phones or pharmaceutical products to trainers.

This is the latest grant from the Appleyard Lees Growth Fund, which awards funds to suitable businesses applying to that Fund, those businesses having innovative ideas and a sound strategic approach.

The Quantum-ID (Q-ID) technology, which was developed by Quantum Base, a Lancaster University spin out company, generates an identity that cannot be copied, cloned or simulated.

It is therefore a 100 per cent secure ID based on the unique arrangement atoms, which can be used to authenticate or identify any object or product.

Four years into the development and with a significant investment in Q-ID, Quantum Base is now working with Appleyard Lees on patent filings on both this and a wider portfolio of high tech security products, and Quantum Base are already in discussions with a number of global brands and manufacturers to begin product trials.

The ID tags, which are 1/1000th the width of a human hair and cost about a penny to produce, use graphene-like sheets that incorporate atomic imperfections unique to each device, making them impossible to copy, clone or simulate.

They are available as an electronic version or an optical version, which can be used to authenticate anything using a smart phone, from designer trainers and pharmaceuticals to holograms.

The track-and-trace capability of the Q-ID also allows supply chain management and the ability to turn the devices off or on anywhere up to the point of consumption, in case of theft or product recall.

The global scientific community has been quick to recognise the enormous potential of this new product, with the Royal Society choosing this research as one of its tips for future success in its innovative Labs to Riches series.

Quantum Base’s co-founder Dr Robert Young has also been published in Nature magazine amongst many other high impact journals.

Quantum Base Co-founder Phil Speed said: “Not since the arrival of the microprocessor 30 years ago will anything have as significant an impact on the consumer technology landscape as quantum technologies.

“As our IP partner and in granting us their Growth Fund grant Appleyard Lees is enabling us to take what is a real world first and a great British scientific invention and to begin to commercialise it on a truly global scale.

“The world we live in today is connected in a million different ways by technology and yet we still haven’t managed to find a 100 per cent secure way to protect our data, transactions and conversations – passwords can be cracked, signatures forged, products faked.

“Our quantum security solutions can be incorporated into any product and are guaranteed by the laws of physics to be 100 per cent provably secure.”

Appleyard Lees Partner Richard Bray said: “It is really very rare to be working with a spin-out like Quantum Base operating in this highly technical area, and it’s particularly special to be involved right from the outset. This means that I really do feel part of the team, and can help them in ways that might have been difficult or impossible had I been involved much later on.”