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May 10, 2021
Ray Newell

Ray Newell

The lead article for this month's issue of @the Bradbury.

Frontiers in Science: Protecting the power grid with physics

How quantum physics can overcome cyber threats, password fails and semi-honest people

Every day, we try to keep important information — like our emails and our bank accounts — safe from hackers. But when it comes to protecting the energy grid, clever passwords and anti-malware packages are simply not enough.

The solution? Physics. Join Raymond Newell for a fascinating look at Quantum-Ensured Defense of the Smart Electric Grid (QED), a new approach for power security. This cutting-edge technique uses single particles of light for encryption and authentication to keep our secrets safe and our grid secure — now and into the future.


Newell is a research scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he has been employed since 2003. He holds a doctorate in atomic, molecular and optical physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He leads the Quantum Communications team at Los Alamos, and is deputy group leader for the Materials Physics and Applications Quantum group. His research interests span the broad range of quantum information sciences for national security. In addition, Newell is the chief optical scientist for the SuperCam Body Unit, a suite of remote sensing instruments aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars.

Frontiers in Science is presented by the Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellows. This series features conversations with scientists, engineers and other experts behind some of the most innovative developments in scientific achievement.