QKD is a highly effective encryption method as hackers cannot even snoop into encrypted data without altering it. For instance, on a QKD system if a hacker tries to read the encryption key user X is using to encrypt the data he is sending to user Y, the quantum state of the photon that carries the data is destroyed. This means that user X and Y know instantly that there is somebody tracking their data transfer.
Nevertheless, there is a huge drawback to the technology. Quantum encryption is extremely slow. The speeds of most systems that employ the technology do not exceed hundreds of kilobits per second.
A research team from Ohio and Duke Universities and the National University of Singapore, claim that they were able to boost those speeds to one megabit per second with readily available components. This means that the current QKD technology was revamped to serve the team’s research purposes.
Quantum Encryption Has Just Become Faster
A paper detailing the findings appeared in the journal Science Advances. The project was funded by the Navy and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Study authors explained that they were able to obtain greater transfer speeds by breaking the limitations on photon detectors. If encryption keys are transferred at rates of one qubit per photon, the overall speed largely depends on the speed of quantum states’ production.
Researchers found that they could encode more states onto a single photon, which morphed into a qudit, which means the photon is no longer bidimensional. Current technology can only turn the photon into a qubit, which has two dimensions: time and the current quantum phase.
Image Source: Wikimedia