Secure communication via quantum illumination

Jeffrey H. Shapiro, Zheshen Zhang, Franco N.C. Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


In the quantum illumination protocol for secure communication, Alice prepares entangled signal and idler beams via spontaneous parametric downconversion. She sends the signal beam to Bob, while retaining the idler. Bob imposes message modulation on the beam he receives from Alice, amplifies it, and sends it back to her. Alice then decodes Bob’s information by making a joint quantum measurement on the light she has retained and the light she has received from him. The basic performance analysis for this protocol—which demonstrates its immunity to passive eavesdropping, in which Eve can only listen to Alice and Bob’s transmissions—is reviewed, along with the results of its first proof-of-principle experiment. Further analysis is then presented, showing that secure data rates in excess of 1 Gbps may be possible over 20-km-long fiber links with technology that is available or under development. Finally, an initial scheme for thwarting active eavesdropping, in which Eve injects her own light into Bob’s terminal, is proposed and analyzed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2171-2193
Number of pages23
JournalQuantum Information Processing
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Entanglement
  • Optical parametric amplification
  • Secure communication
  • Spontaneous parametric downconversion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Signal Processing
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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