Timing Authentication Secured by Quantum Correlations (TASQC)

January, 2015
TASQC Overview Graphic

A backbone of radio transmitters are connected via a quantum communications link that enables secure keys to be generated at all the backbone stations. These keys are then used in a variety of protocols to transmit time, and other messaging, to energy grid devices in the field wirelessly.

The Timing Authentication Secured by Quantum Correlations (TASQC) project will develop and demonstrate a transformative system of ground-based timing and communication beacons featuring security that is enhanced by geographically distributed quantum correlations and that takes full advantage of the direction of information flow for power systems management. Unlike GPS-based timing schemes, this new system will feature transmitted timing signals that are a priori unknown, making them very difficult to spoof. In addition, the signals will include quantum correlations that will provide several avenues for authenticating not only the timing signals, but also power systems data (e.g., sent from a phasor measurement unit (PMU) to a substation) and other communications tasks. The system will offer the improved security afforded by the techniques of quantum communication through a relatively modest infrastructure that will be able to support not only a suite of increasingly secure timing protocols, but also a wide range of authenticated communication tasks. Without the need to rely on GPS signals, utilities will be able to establish complete end-to-end control of security for time-sensitive data.

The TASQC team includes partners from DOE National Laboratories (Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest, Sandia), academia (UT Austin), and partners in industry (Qubitekk). This collaboration marshals a diverse collection of skills and capabilities, including quantum information, wireless communication, cyber-security, energy systems, and radionavigation.

Principal Investigator

Philip G Evans


Department of Energy (DOE)