From Event: SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications, 2016
It has long been known that quantum networks will enable a whole new range of communication tasks to be undertaken. The simplest is quantum key distribution (QKD) and are commercially available but currently only operate securely over distances around 100 km. A significant advance has been the development of mdiQKD, a scheme where Alice and Bob send one photon at a time to an intermediate node where a Bell measurement is performed. This Bell measurement can only succeed when both Alice and Bob photons arrive at the same time and so the key rate is limited by the exponential losses in both fibres. It limits the practical distance keys can be generated to less than 400km. Spatial or temporal multiplexing is a natural solution to this where one stores the photons that independently arrive from Alice and Bob. Only when the immediate node has both does it perform the Bell measurement. This means we are effectively only limited by fibres losses in one half of the channel. It however means one requires quantum memories at this immediate node, a technically challenging feat and one that changes the general resources used in QKD schemes. In our spatial multiplexed approach, we propose the use of an “all photonic non-destructive measurement (QND)” to herald whether the photon has arrived successfully from either Alice or Bob. Optical switches can them be used to route these photons to the Bell measurement, meaning that we are only limited by the channel loss between either Alice and the immediate node or Bob and the intermediate node, but not both. Further this can achieved without the use of quantum memories at all. Only optical switches, single-photon sources, photon detectors, and passive feed-forward techniques are required. Our approach can be applied naturally to entanglement distribution and so has applications beyond QKD.
William J. Munro, Koji Azuma, and Kiyoshi Tamaki, "Intercity quantum networking without repeaters
(Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9980, Quantum Communications and Quantum Imaging XIV, 998002 (Presented at SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications: August 28, 2016; Published: 7 December 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2235448.5178981887001.
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