**Towards development of a quantum network** - Khabat Heshami

Thanks to significant progress in different aspects of quantum communications, development of continental quantum network now appears to be within reach. In this talk, I will discuss two elements contributing to such a quantum network. First, I will talk about a few recent experiments in free-space high-dimensional quantum key distribution using orbital angular momentum states of photons. In the second part of my talk, I will discuss light-matter interfaces to develop components for development of quantum networks. In particular, I will share recent results on a new approach to store photons in atomic systems and describe our progress in ultrafast modulation of photonic qubits.