Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Code for ’unbreakable quantum encryption generated at record speed over fiber

20.04.2006


Raw code for “unbreakable” encryption, based on the principles of quantum physics, has been generated at record speed over optical fiber at the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The work, reported today at the SPIE Defense & Security Symposium in Orlando, Fla.,* is a step toward using conventional high-speed networks such as broadband Internet and local-area networks to transmit ultra-secure video for applications such as surveillance.



The NIST quantum key distribution (QKD) system uses single photons, the smallest particles of light, in different orientations to produce a continuous binary code, or "key," for encrypting information. The rules of quantum mechanics ensure that anyone intercepting the key is detected, thus providing highly secure key exchange. The laboratory system produced this “raw” key at a rate of more than 4 million bits per second (4 million bps) over 1 kilometer (km) of optical fiber, twice the speed of NIST’s previous record, reported just last month.** The system also worked successfully, although more slowly, over 4 km of fiber.

The record speed was achieved with an error rate of only 3.6 percent, considered very low. The next step will be to process the raw key, using NIST-developed methods for correcting errors and increasing privacy, to generate "secret" key at about half the original speed, or about 2 million bps.


NIST has previously encrypted, transmitted and decrypted Web quality streaming video using secret keys generated at 1 million bps in a 1-km fiber QKD system using a slightly different quantum encoding method.*** Using the same methods for correcting errors and improving privacy with the key generated twice as fast or faster should allow real-time encryption and decryption of video signals at a resolution higher than Web quality, according to NIST physicist Xiao Tang, lead author of the paper.

“This is all part of our effort to build a prototype high-speed quantum network in our lab,” says Tang. “When it is completed, we will be able to view QKD-secured video signals sent by two cameras at different locations. Such a system becomes a QKD-secured surveillance network."

Applications for high-speed QKD might include distribution of sensitive remote video, such as satellite imagery, or commercially valuable material such as intellectual property, or confidential healthcare and financial data. In addition, high-volume secure communications are needed for military operations to service large numbers of users simultaneously and provide multimedia capabilities as well as database access.

NIST is among a number of laboratories and companies around the world developing QKD systems, which are expected to provide the next generation of data security. Conventional encryption is typically based on mathematical complexity and may be broken given sufficiently powerful computers and enough time. In contrast, QKD produces encryption codes based on the quantum states of individual photons and is considered “verifiably secure.” Under the principles of quantum physics, measuring a photon’s quantum state destroys that state. QKD systems are specifically designed so that eavesdropping causes detectable changes in the system.

NIST systems are much faster, although operating over shorter distances, than previously reported QKD systems developed by other organizations. High-speed transmission is necessary for widespread practical use of quantum encryption over broadband networks. The NIST fiber QKD system was designed by physicists, computer scientists and mathematicians and is part of a testbed for demonstrating and measuring the performance of quantum communication technologies. NIST has used the testbed to demonstrate QKD in both a fiber-based system and an optical wireless system operating between two NIST buildings. http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/releases/quantumkeys.htm.

The NIST fiber QKD system has two channels operating over optical fibers that are wrapped around a spool between two personal computers in a laboratory. The photons are sent in different quantum states, or orientations of their electric field, representing 0 and 1. The system compensates for temperature changes and vibration, which could affect performance, with a NIST-designed module that automatically adjusts photon orientation on a time schedule. More extreme environmental changes are likely to occur in fibers buried or suspended outdoors as in telephone networks; the researchers plan to test a fiber QKD system in the field in the future.

After raw key is generated and processed, the secret key is used to encrypt and decrypt video signals transmitted over the Internet between two computers in the same laboratory. The high speed of the system enables use of the most secure cipher known for ensuring the privacy of a communications channel, in which one secret key bit, known only to the communicating parties, is used only once to encrypt one video bit (or pixel). Compressed video has been encrypted, transmitted and decrypted at a rate of 30 frames per second, sufficient for smooth streaming images, in Web-quality resolution, 320 by 240 pixels per frame.

Laura Ost | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/releases/quantumkeys.htm
http://www.nist.gov

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms
17.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht New functional principle to generate the „third harmonic“
16.02.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Switched-on DNA

20.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>