(SciTechDaily) Researchers at the Università degli Studi di Padova have demonstrated an automated, easy-to-operate quantum key distribution (QKD) system using the fiber network in the city of Padua, Italy. The field test represents an important step toward implementing this highly secure quantum communication technology using the type of communication networks already in place in many regions around the world.
QKD offers impenetrable encryption for data communication because it uses the quantum properties of light to generate secure random keys for encrypting and decrypting data.
“QKD can be useful in any situation where security is paramount because it offers unconditional security for the key exchange process,” said Marco Avesani from Università degli Studi di Padova in Italy, co-first author of the new study with Luca Calderaro and Giulio Foletto. “It can be used to encrypt and authenticate health data sent between hospitals or money transfers among banks, for example.”
“QKD systems usually require a complex stabilization system and additional dedicated synchronization hardware,” said Avesani. “We developed a complete QKD system that can be directly interfaced with standard telecommunications equipment and doesn’t require additional hardware for synchronization. The system fits easily into the rack enclosures commonly found in server rooms.”
“Because of the technology we developed, the source was ready to produce quantum states when we moved our system from the lab to the location of the field trial,” said Calderaro. “We didn’t have to perform the slow, and often prone-to-failure, alignment procedure required for most QKD systems.”