The channel loss incurred in long-distance transmission places a significant burden on quantum key distribution (QKD) systems: they must defeat a passive eavesdropper who detects all the light lost in the quantum channel and does so without disturbing the light that reaches the intended destination. The current QKD implementation with the highest long-distance secret-key rate meets this challenge by transmitting no more than one photon per bit [M. Lucamarini, Opt. Express 21, 24550 (2013)OPEXFF1094-408710.1364/OE.21.024550]. As a result, it cannot achieve the Gbps secret-key rate needed for one-time pad encryption of large data files unless an impractically large amount of multiplexing is employed. We introduce floodlight QKD (FL-QKD), which floods the quantum channel with a high number of photons per bit distributed over a much greater number of optical modes. FL-QKD offers security against the optimum frequency-domain collective attack by transmitting less than one photon per mode and using photon-coincidence channel monitoring, and it is completely immune to passive eavesdropping. More importantly, FL-QKD is capable of a 2-Gbps secret-key rate over a 50-km fiber link, without any multiplexing, using available equipment, i.e., no new technology need be developed. FL-QKD achieves this extraordinary secret-key rate by virtue of its unprecedented secret-key efficiency, in bits per channel use, which exceeds those of state-of-the-art systems by two orders of magnitude.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics