Quantum key distribution can be enhanced and extended if nonclassical single-photon states of light are used. We study a connection between the security of quantum key distribution and quantum non-Gaussianity of light arriving at the receiver's detection system after the propagation through a noisy quantum channel, being under full control of an eavesdropper performing general collective attacks. We show that while quantum nonclassicality exhibited by the light arriving at the receiver's station is a necessary indication of the security of the discrete-variable protocols, quantum non-Gaussianity can be a sufficient indication of their security. Therefore, checking for non-Gaussianity of this light by performing standard autocorrelation function measurement can be used for prior verification of the usability of prepare-and-measure schemes. It can play similar role to the prior verification of the quantum correlations sufficient to violate Bell inequalities for entanglement-based protocols.
The role of the side channels in the continuous-variable quantum key distribution is studied. It is shown how the information leakage through a side channel from the trusted sender station increases the vulnerability of the protocols to the eavesdropping in the main quantum communication channel. Moreover, the untrusted noise infusion by an eavesdropper on the trusted receiving side breaks the security even for a purely attenuating main quantum channel. As a method to compensate for the effect of the side-channel leakage on the sender side, we suggest several types of manipulations on the side-channel input. It is shown that by applying the modulated coherent light on the input of the side channel that is optimally correlated to the modulation on the main signal and optionally, introducing additional squeezing in the case of the squeezed-state protocol, the negative influence of the lossy side channel on the sender side can be completely removed. For the trusted receiving side, the method of optimal monitoring of the residual noise from the side-channel noise infusion is suggested and shown to be able to completely eliminate the presence of the noisy side channel. We therefore prove that the side-channel effects can be completely removed using feasible operations if the trusted parties access the respective parts of the side channels.
We study the robustness of quantum key distribution protocols using discrete or continuous variables to the channel noise. We introduce the model of such noise based on coupling of the signal to a thermal reservoir, typical for continuous-variable quantum key distribution, to the discrete-variable case. Then we perform a comparison of the bounds on the tolerable channel noise between these two kinds of protocols using the same noise parametrization, in the case of implementation which is perfect otherwise. Obtained results show that continuous-variable protocols can exhibit similar robustness to the channel noise when the transmittance of the channel is relatively high. However, for strong loss discrete-variable protocols are superior and can overcome even the infinite-squeezing continuous-variable protocol while using limited nonclassical resources. The requirement on the probability of a single-photon production which would have to be fulfilled by a practical source of photons in order to demonstrate such superiority is feasible thanks to the recent rapid development in this field.
We address the role of the phase-insensitive trusted preparation and detection noise in the security of a continuous-variable quantum key distribution, considering the Gaussian protocols on the basis of coherent and squeezed states and studying them in the conditions of Gaussian lossy and noisy channels. The influence of such a noise on the security of Gaussian quantum cryptography can be crucial, even despite the fact that a noise is trusted, due to a strongly nonlinear behavior of the quantum entropies involved in the security analysis. We recapitulate the known effect of the preparation noise in both direct and reverse-reconciliation protocols, as well as the detection noise in the reverse-reconciliation scenario. As a new result, we show the negative role of the trusted detection noise in the direct-reconciliation scheme. We also describe the role of the trusted preparation or detection noise added at the reference side of the protocols in improving the robustness of the protocols to the channel noise, confirming the positive effect for the coherent-state reverse-reconciliation protocol. Finally, we address the combined effect of trusted noise added both in the source and the detector.
In a direct detection scheme we observed 7.8 dB of twin-beam squeezing for multi-mode two-color squeezed vacuum generated via parametric down conversion. Applying post-selection, we conditionally prepared a sub-Poissonian state of light containing $6.3\cdot10^5$ photons per pulse on the average with the Fano factor $0.63\pm0.01$. The scheme can be considered as the heralded preparation of pulses with the mean energy varying between tens and hundreds of fJ and the uncertainty considerably below the shot-noise level. Such pulses can be used in metrology (for instance, for radiometers calibration) as well as for probing multi-mode nonlinear optical effects.
For systems analogous to a linear harmonic oscillator, the simplest way to characterize the state is by a covariance matrix containing the symmetrically-ordered moments of operators analogous to position and momentum. We show that using Stokes-like detectors without direct access to either position or momentum, the estimation of the covariance matrix of a macroscopic signal is still possible using interference with a classical noisy and low-intensity reference. Such a detection technique will allow to estimate macroscopic quantum states of electromagnetic radiation without a coherent high-intensity local oscillator. It can be directly applied to estimate the covariance matrix of macroscopically bright squeezed states of light.
We analyze homodyne detection of macroscopically bright multimode nonclassical states of light and propose their application in quantum communication. We observe that the homodyne detection is sensitive to a mode-matching of the bright light to the highly intense local oscillator. Unmatched bright modes of light result in additional noise which technically limits detection of Gaussian entanglement at macroscopic level. When the mode-matching is sufficient, we show that multimode quantum key distribution with bright beams is feasible. It finally merges the quantum communication with classical optical technology of visible beams of light.
We propose the continuous-variable quantum key distribution protocol based on the Gaussian modulation of a single quadrature of the coherent states of light, which is aimed to provide simplified implementation compared to the symmetrically modulated Gaussian coherent-state protocols. The protocol waives the necessity in phase quadrature modulation and the corresponding channel transmittance estimation. The security of the protocol against collective attacks in a generally phase-sensitive Gaussian channels is analyzed and is shown achievable upon certain conditions. Robustness of the protocol to channel imperfections is compared to that of the symmetrical coherent-state protocol. The simplified unidimensional protocol is shown possible at a reasonable quantitative cost in terms of key rate and of tolerable channel excess noise.
Secure quantum key distribution with multimode Gaussian entangled states and multimode homodyne detectors is proposed. In general the multimode character of both the sources of entanglement and the homodyne detectors can cause a security break even for a perfect channel when trusted parties are unaware of the detection structure. Taking into account the multimode structure and potential leakage of information from a homodyne detector reduces the loss of security to some extent. We suggest the symmetrization of the multimode sources of entanglement as an efficient method allowing us to fully recover the security irrespectively to multimode structure of the homodyne detectors. Further, we demonstrate that by increasing the number of the fluctuating but similar source modes the multimode protocol stabilizes the security of the quantum key distribution. The result opens the pathway towards quantum key distribution with multimode sources and detectors.
We investigate the main limitations which prevent the continuous-variable quantum key distribution protocols from achieving long distances in the finite-size setting. We propose a double-modulation protocol which allows using each state for both channel estimation and key distribution. As opposed to the standard method, we optimize the parameters of the protocol and consider squeezed as well as coherent states as a signal. By optimally combining the resources the key rate can approach the theoretical limit for long distances, and one can obtain about ten times higher key rate using ten times shorter block size than in the current state-of-the-art implementation.
Applying a multiphoton-subtraction technique to two-color macroscopic squeezed vacuum state of light generated via high-gain parametric down conversion we conditionally prepare a new state of light: bright multi-mode low-noise twin beams. The obtained results demonstrate up to 8-fold suppression of noise in each beam while preserving and even moderately improving the nonclassical photon number correlations between the beams. The prepared low-noise macroscopic state, containing up to 2000 photons per mode, is not among the states achievable through nonlinear optical processes. The proposed technique substantially improves the usefulness of twin beams for quantum technologies.
In all lossy communication channels realized to date, information is inevitably leaked to a potential eavesdropper. Here we present a communication protocol that does not allow for any information leakage to a potential eavesdropper. By encoding information into a restricted Gaussian alphabet of squeezed states we show, both theoretically and experimentally, that the Holevo information between the eavesdropper and the intended recipient can be exactly zero in a purely lossy channel while minimized in a noisy channel with a finite number of samples. This result is of fundamental interest but might also have practical implications in extending the distance of secure quantum key distribution.
Entanglement properties of Gaussian states of light as well as the security of continuous variable quantum key distribution with Gaussian states in free-space fading channels are studied. These qualities are shown to be sensitive to the statistical properties of the transmittance distribution in the cases when entanglement is strong or when channel excess noise is present. Fading, i.e. transmission fluctuations, caused by beam wandering due to atmospheric turbulence, is a frequent challenge in free-space communication. We introduce a method of fading discrimination and subsequent post-selection of the corresponding sub-states and show that it can improve the entanglement resource and restore the security of the key distribution over a realistic fading link. Furthermore, the optimal post-selection strategy in combination with an optimized entangled resource is shown to drastically increase the protocol robustness to excess noise, which is confirmed for experimentally measured fading channel characteristics. The stability of the result against finite data ensemble size and imperfect channel estimation is also addressed.
We address the security of continuous-variable quantum key distribution with squeezed states upon realistic conditions of noisy and lossy environment and limited reconciliation efficiency. Considering the generalized preparation scheme and clearly distinguishing between classical and quantum resources, we investigate the effect of finite squeezing on the tolerance of the protocol to untrusted channel noise. For a long-distance strongly attenuating channel and the consequent low reconciliation efficiency, we show that feasible limited squeezing is surprisingly sufficient to provide the security of Gaussian quantum key distribution in the presence of untrusted noise. We explain the effect by behaviour of the Holevo quantity, which describes the information leakage, and is effectively minimized by the squeezed states.
We address the effects of realistic photodetection, with nonunit quantum efficiency and background noise (dark counts), on the performances of quantum communication schemes based on photon-number entangled states. We consider channels based on Gaussian twin-beam states and non-Gaussian two-mode coherent states and evaluate the channel capacity by optimizing the bit discrimination threshold. We found that TWB-based channels are more robust against noise than TMC-based ones and that this result is almost independent on the statistics of dark counts.
We address security of the quantum key distribution scheme based on the noisy modulation of coherent states and investigate how it is robust against noise in the modulation regardless of the particular technical implementation. As the trusted preparation noise is shown to be security breaking even for purely lossy channels, we reveal the essential difference between two types of trusted noise, namely sender-side preparation noise and receiver-side detection noise, the latter being security preserving. We consider the method of sender-side state purification to compensate the preparation noise and show its applicability in the realistic conditions of channel loss, untrusted channel excess noise, and trusted detection noise. We show that purification makes the scheme robust to the preparation noise (i.e., even the arbitrary noisy coherent states can in principle be used for the purpose of quantum key distribution). We also take into account the effect of realistic reconciliation and show that the purification method is still efficient in this case up to a limited value of preparation noise.
We address the process of generation of the photon-number entangled states of light in the stimulated nonlinear parametric down conversion process and build the simple model describing the generation, not involving the traditional parametric approximation. The motion equations for the system of pumping and two-mode outgoing field are solved for the case of the strong correlation between two modes, the evolution of the state parameters of the generated modes is obtained. The solution is briefly analyzed for particular types of photon-number entangled states.
We address binary and quaternary communication channels based on correlated multiphoton two-mode states of radiation in the presence of losses. The protocol are based on photon number correlations and realized upon choosing a shared set of thresholds to convert the outcome of a joint photon number measurement into a symbol from a discrete alphabet. In particular, we focus on channels build using feasible photon-number entangled states (PNES) as two-mode coherently-correlated (TMC) or twin-beam (TWB) states and compare their performances with that of channels built using feasible classically correlated (separable) states. We found that PNES provide larger channel capacity in the presence of loss, and that TWB-based channels may transmit a larger amount of information than TMC-based ones at fixed energy and overall loss. Optimized bit discrimination thresholds, as well as the corresponding maximized mutual information, are explicitly evaluated as a function of the beam intensity and the loss parameter. The propagation of TMC and TWB in lossy channels is analyzed and the joint photon number distribution is evaluated, showing that the beam statistics, either sub-Poissonian for TMC or super-Poissonian for TWB, is not altered by losses. Although entanglement is not strictly needed to establish the channels, which are based on photon-number correlations owned also by separable mixed states, purity of the support state is relevant to increase security. The joint requirement of correlation and purity individuates PNES as a suitable choice to build effective channels. The effects of losses on channel security are briefly discussed.
The large-alphabet quantum cryptography protocol based on the two-mode coherently correlated multi-photon beams is proposed. The alphabet extension for the protocol is shown to result in the increase of the QKD effectiveness and security.