Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New approach uses 'twisted light' to increase efficiency of quantum cryptography systems

23.03.2015

Researchers demonstrate how to encode 2.05 bits per photon, doubling existing systems that use light polarization

Researchers at the University of Rochester and their collaborators have developed a way to transfer 2.05 bits per photon by using "twisted light." This remarkable achievement is possible because the researchers used the orbital angular momentum of the photons to encode information, rather than the more commonly used polarization of light. The new approach doubles the 1 bit per photon that is possible with current systems that rely on light polarization and could help increase the efficiency of quantum cryptography systems.

Quantum cryptography promises more secure communications. The first step in such systems is quantum key distribution (QKD), to ensure that both the sender and receiver - usually referred to as Alice and Bob - are communicating in such a way that only they know what is being sent. They are the only ones who hold the "key" to the messages, and the systems are set up in such a way that the presence of any eavesdropper would be identified.

In the paper, published in New Journal of Physics today, Mohammad Mirhosseini and his colleagues describe a proof-of-principle experiment that shows that using OAM to encode information rather than polarization opens up the possibility of high-dimensional QKD. Mirhosseini, a Ph.D. student in Robert W. Boyd's group at the University of Rochester's Institute of Optics, explains that they were able to encode a seven dimensional "alphabet" - that is, seven letters or symbols - using both the orbital angular momentum (OAM) of the photons and their angular position (ANG). These two properties of the photons form what physicists refer to as mutually unbiased bases, a requirement for QKD. Using mutually unbiased bases, the correct answer is revealed only if Alice encodes the information using a particular basis and Bob measures in that same basis.

In QKD, once they have generated a long, shared key, Alice and Bob publicly announce the basis (or "alphabet") they have used for each symbol in the key. They then compare what alphabet was used for sending and which one for receiving. They only keep the part of the key in which they have used the same "alphabet." The letters they keep produce a secure key, which they can use to encrypt messages and transmit these with regular encryption without the need for quantum cryptography.

If for any reason their communication is intercepted, because of a fundamental property of quantum mechanics, there will be discrepancies between Alice and Bob's keys. To check for this, Alice and Bob sacrifice a short part of their key. They share this publicly and identify any discrepancies. This lets them know whether their connection is secure and, if not, they will stop the communication.

The researchers showed that using their system they were able to generate and detect information at a rate of 4kHz and with 93% accuracy. A long term goal of the research is to realize secure communications at GHz transmission rates, which is desirable for telecommunication applications.

"Our experiment shows that it is possible to use "twisted light" for QKD and that it doubles the capacity compared to using polarization," said Mirhosseini. "Unlike with polarization, where it is impossible to encode more than one bit per photon, "twisted light" could make it possible to encode several bits, and every extra bit of information encoded in a photon means fewer photons to generate and measure."

In a previous experiment using a strong laser beam instead of single photons, Boyd's team were able to measure up to 25 modes of OAM and ANG. This is equivalent to having 25 letters available in your "alphabet" rather than 7. This shows the potential for a system like the one described in the new paper to have the capacity to transmit and measure 4.17 bits per photon using more sophisticated equipment.

Mirhosseini acknowledges that the real-world challenges are not straightforward to overcome but when it comes to QKD, he is excited about the possibilities their system opens up.

###

Mirhosseini's collaborators included his colleagues O. S. Magana-Loaiza, M. N. O'Sullivan, B. Rodenburg, M. Malik (now at the IQOQI in Vienna), and advisor Robert W. Boyd (who also holds the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Quantum Nonlinear Optics at the University of Ottawa) at the University of Rochester; M. P. J. Lavery and M. J. Padgett from the University of Glasgow; and D. J. Gauthier from Duke University. The researchers acknowledge funding from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The Institute of Optics is part of the University of Rochester's Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Media Contact

Leonor Sierra
lsierra@ur.rochester.edu
585-276-6264

 @UofR

http://www.rochester.edu 

Leonor Sierra | EurekAlert!

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm
16.02.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Supermassive black hole model predicts characteristic light signals at cusp of collision
15.02.2018 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>