Modulation leakage-free continuous-variable quantum key distribution

Adnan A.E. Hajomer*, Nitin Jain, Hossein Mani, Hou Man Chin, Ulrik L. Andersen, Tobias Gehring*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Distributing cryptographic keys over public channels in a way that can provide information-theoretic security is the holy grail for secure communication. This can be achieved by exploiting quantum mechanical principles in so-called quantum key distribution (QKD). Continuous-variable (CV) QKD based on coherent states, in particular, is an attractive scheme for secure communication since it requires only standard telecommunication technology that can operate at room temperature. However, a recently discovered side-channel created in the process of state preparation leads to a leakage of information about the transmitted quantum state, opening a security loophole for eavesdroppers to compromise the security of the CVQKD system. Here, we present a CVQKD system without this modulation leakage vulnerability. Our implementation is based on a baseband modulation approach and uses an in-phase and quadrature (IQ) modulator for state preparation and radio frequency heterodyne detection together with carefully designed digital signal processing for state measurement. We consider practical aspects in the implementation and demonstrate the generation of a composable secret key secure against collective attacks. This work is a step towards protecting CVQKD systems against practical imperfections of physical devices and operational limitations without performance degradation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number136
Journalnpj Quantum Information
Volume8
Number of pages8
ISSN2056-6387
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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