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Proceedings Paper

The secrecy capacity of practical quantum cryptography
Author(s): Gerald N. Gilbert; Michael Hamrick
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Paper Abstract

Quantum cryptography has attracted much recent attention due to its potential for providing secret communications that cannot be decrypted by any amount of computational effort. This is the first analysis of the secrecy of a practical implementation of the BB84 protocol that simultaneously takes into account and presents the full set of analytical expressions for effects due to the presence of pulses containing multiple photons in the attenuated output of the laser, the finite length of individual blocks of key material, losses due to error correction, privacy amplification, and authentication, errors in polarization detection, the efficiency of the detectors, and attenuation processes in the transmission medium. The analysis addresses eavesdropping attacks on individual photons rather than collective attacks in general. Of particular importance is the first derivation of the necessary and sufficient amount of privacy amplification compression to ensure secrecy against the loss of key material which occurs when an eavesdropper makes optimized individual attacks on pulses containing multiple photons. It is shown that only a fraction of the information in the multiple photon pulses is actually lost to the eavesdropper.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 August 2003
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 5105, Quantum Information and Computation, (4 August 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.487130
Show Author Affiliations
Gerald N. Gilbert, MITRE Corp. (United States)
Michael Hamrick, MITRE Corp. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5105:
Quantum Information and Computation
Eric Donkor; Andrew R. Pirich; Howard E. Brandt, Editor(s)

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