Investigation on the Electromagnetic Radiated Emissions of a Single- Photon Avalanche Diode

John J. Pantoja*, Alfonso Tello, Dimitris E. Anagnostou, James Kirrane, Mark Stonehouse, Alex Koehler-Sidki, Michele Natrella, Ross Donaldson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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The security provided by Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) can be strongly compromised by interception of the raw and sifted key through side channels, such as the practical characteristics of electronic components used in the transmitter and receiver modules. Some out-of-band electromagnetic attacks have already been identified and tested in components used in QKD, such as quantum random number generators. In this presentation, we explore out-of-band electromagnetic attacks of other components used in a quantum receiver, such as single photon avalanche diodes (SPADs), and the time-correlated single-photon counting module. We measured the electromagnetic (EM) radiated emissions of the components to quantify the emanation levels and evaluate the vulnerability that this QKD side channel may present. The test was conducted in an anechoic chamber up to 1 GHz, at 3 m distance, and rotating the SPAD to provide radiation from 4 azimuth angles. Results show that measurable radiated pulses are generated by the SPAD in this frequency range due to dark count pulses and due to incoming Single-Photon level pulses. Dark counts of few kHz and Single-Photon level counts of hundreds of kHz were considered in the tests. EM radiation frequency bands with main emissions and electric field strengths are identified for both operation conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQuantum Technology
Subtitle of host publicationDriving Commercialisation of an Enabling Science IV
EditorsMiles J. Padgett, Alessandro Fedrizzi, Michael Holynski, Alberto Politi
ISBN (Electronic)9781510668430
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2023
EventSPIE Photonex 2023 - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Oct 202327 Oct 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceSPIE Photonex 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • QKD
  • quantum communication
  • Quantum Key Distribution
  • single photon
  • SPAD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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