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Optical key distribution enhanced by optical injection locking (Conference Presentation)
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Paper Abstract

Quantum key distribution (QKD) allows two users to communicate with theoretically provable secrecy [1]. This is vitally important to secure the confidential data of governments, businesses and individuals. As the technology is adopted by a wider audience, a quantum network will become necessary for multi-party communication, as in the classical communication networks in use today. Unfortunately, a number of phase-encoded QKD protocols based on weak coherent pulses have been developed. Whilst the first protocol, proposed by Bennett and Brassard in 1984 (BB84), is still commonly used, other protocols such as differential phase shift [2] or coherent one way QKD [3] are also adopted. Each protocol has its benefits; however all would require a different transmitter and receiver, increasing the complexity and cost of quantum networks. In this work we demonstrate a multi-protocol transmitter [4-6] that also has the benefits of small footprint, low power consumption and low complexity. We use this transmitter to give the first experimental demonstration of an improved version of the BB84 protocol, known as the differential quadrature phase shift protocol. We have achieved megabit per second secure key rates at short distances, and have shown secure key rates that are, on average, 2.71 times higher than the standard BB84 protocol. This enhanced performance over such a commonly adopted protocol, at no expense to experimental complexity, could lead to a widespread migration to the new protocol. The security of the BB84 protocol relies on each signal and reference pulse pair being globally phase randomised with respect to all other pulse pairs. In the DQPS protocol, blocks with a length L ≥ 2 are used and each block has a globally random phase with respect to all other blocks. Implementing this protocol would ordinarily require a high-speed random number generator and a phase modulator. As well as increasing device complexity, it would also require an unrealistic continuous source of electrical modulation signals for complete security. The transmitter we use injects light from a master laser diode into a 2 GHz gain-switched slave laser diode. The principal of optical injection locking means that the slave laser inherits the phase of the master laser. We apply modulations to the master laser current within a block to control the phase of the slave laser output pulses, and then drive the master laser below threshold for a short period of time when phase randomisation is required. This ensures the lasing comes from below threshold, thus the phase adopted by the slave laser pulse is completely random. We perform an autocorrelation measurement on the blocks to show their randomness. [1] N. Gisin et al. Rev. Mod. Phys. 74, 145 (2002). [2] K. Inoue et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 89, 037902 (2002). [3] D. Stucki et al. Appl. Phys. Lett. 87 194108 (2005). [4] Z. Yuan et al. Phys. Rev. X. 6, 031044 (2016). [5] G. L. Roberts et al. Laser Phot. Rev. 11, 1700067 (2017). [6] G. L. Roberts et al. arXiv:1709.04214 [quant-ph] (2017).

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 May 2018
Proc. SPIE 10674, Quantum Technologies 2018, 1067411 (29 May 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2306125
Show Author Affiliations
George L. Roberts, Toshiba Research Europe Ltd. (United Kingdom)
James F. Dynes, Toshiba Research Europe Ltd. (United Kingdom)
Seb J. Savory, Univ. of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
Zhiliang Yuan, Toshiba Research Europe Ltd. (United Kingdom)
Andrew J. Shields, Toshiba Research Europe Ltd. (United Kingdom)
Marco Lucamarini, Toshiba Research Europe Ltd. (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10674:
Quantum Technologies 2018
Jürgen Stuhler; Andrew J. Shields; Miles J. Padgett, Editor(s)

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