Quantum key distribution in a multi-user network at gigahertz clock rates

Veronica Fernandez, Karen J. Gordon, Robert J. Collins, Paul D. Townsend, Sergio D. Cova, Ivan Rech, Gerald S. Buller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years quantum information research has lead to the discovery of a number of remarkable new paradigms for information processing and communication. These developments include quantum cryptography schemes that offer unconditionally secure information transport guaranteed by quantum-mechanical laws. Such potentially disruptive security technologies could be of high strategic and economic value in the future. Two major issues confronting researchers in this field are the transmission range (typically <100km) and the key exchange rate, which can be as low as a few bits per second at long optical fiber distances. This paper describes further research of an approach to significantly enhance the key exchange rate in an optical fiber system at distances in the range of 1-20km. We will present results on a number of application scenarios, including point-to-point links and multi-user networks. Quantum key distribution systems have been developed, which use standard telecommunications optical fiber, and which are capable of operating at clock rates of up to 2GHz. They implement a polarization-encoded version of the B92 protocol and employ vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers with emission wavelengths of 850 nm as weak coherent light sources, as well as silicon single-photon avalanche diodes as the single photon detectors. The point-to-point quantum key distribution system exhibited a quantum bit error rate of 1.4%, and an estimated net bit rate greater than 100,000 bits -1 for a 4.2 km transmission range.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109
Pages (from-to)720-727
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of SPIE - the International Society for Optical Engineering
Volume5840 PART II
Publication statusPublished - 2005
EventPhotonic Materials, Devices, and Applications - Seville, Spain
Duration: 9 May 200511 May 2005


  • Data security
  • Optical fiber communications
  • Quantum cryptography
  • Quantum key distribution


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