Dr Benjamin Sparkes

The University of Adelaide
Research Field: Photonics

Current encryption methods are likely to be defeated by the impending development of next-generation “quantum” computers. Quantum Key Distribution, a commercially-available technique, can eliminate this risk, however, capacity of this technique is currently constrained to a maximum distance, preventing its
widespread adoption.

Dr Sparkes is developing a device that can boost the maximum distance of quantum cryptography. He has developed a quantum memory that is built of exotic atoms that have been cooled to a few millionths of a degree above absolute zero. This device will provide a quantum leap in absolutely-secure global communications for government, defence, business and the broader community.

Ben is a passionate advocate for generating excitement about physics, and has done outreach work including school visits, lab tours, science festivals, social media, and community presentations. To facilitate discussion of his research, he developed a Laser Radio to illustrate how information can be transmitted via light.

Dr Sparkes received his PhD from Australian National University in 2013, and is currently an Australian Research Council’s Discovery Early Career Researcher Award Fellow at The University of Adelaide.