Quantum-based security in optical fibre networks

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


Electronic communication is used everyday for a number of different applications. Some of the information transferred during these communications can be private requiring encryption and authentication protocols to keep this information secure. Although there are protocols today which provide some security, they are not necessarily unconditionally secure. Quantum based protocols on the other hand, can provide unconditionally secure protocols for encryption and authentication.
Prior to this Thesis, only one experimental realisation of quantum digital signatures had been demonstrated. This used a lossy photonic device along with a quantum memory allowing two parties to test whether they were sent the same signature by a single sender, and also store the quantum states for measurement later. This restricted the demonstration to distances of only a few metres, and was tested with a primitive approximation of a quantum memory rather than an actual one. This Thesis presents an experimental realisation of a quantum digital signature protocol which removes the reliance on quantum memory at the receivers, making a major step towards practicality. By removing the quantum memory, it was also possible to perform the swap and comparison mechanism in a more efficient manner resulting in an experimental realisation of quantum digital signatures over 2 kilometres of optical fibre.
Quantum communication protocols can be unconditionally secure, however the transmission distance is limited by loss in quantum channels. To overcome this loss in conventional channels an optical amplifier is used, however the added noise from these would swamp the quantum signal if directly used in quantum communications.
This Thesis looked into probabilistic quantum amplification, with an experimental realisation of the state comparison amplifier, based on linear optical components and single-photon detectors. The state comparison amplifier operated by using the well-established techniques of optical coherent state comparison and weak subtraction to post-select the output and provide non-deterministic amplification with increased fidelity at a high repetition rate. The success rates of this amplifier were found to be orders of magnitude greater than other state of the art quantum amplifiers, due to its lack of requirement for complex quantum resources, such as single or entangled photon sources, and photon number resolving detectors.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Buller, Gerald Stuart, Supervisor
Award date30 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


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