The team have developed a way of generating very rapid single-photon light pulses. Each photon, or particle of light, represents a bit of binary code – the fundamental language of computing. These photons cannot be intercepted without disturbing them in a way that would alert the sender that something was amiss.
Transferring data using light passed along fibre optic cables has become increasingly common over the past decades, but each pulse currently contains millions of photons. That means that, in principle, a portion of these could be intercepted without detection.
Secure data is already encrypted, but if an ‘eavesdropper’ was able to intercept the signals containing details of the code then – in theory – they could access and decode the rest of the message.
Single photon pulses offer total security, because any eavesdropping is immediately detected, but scientists have struggled to produce them rapidly enough to carry data at sufficient speeds to transfer high volumes of data.
In a new study, published in Nature Nanotechnology, the Sheffield team have employed a phenomenon called the Purcell Effect to produce the photons very rapidly. A nanocrystal called a quantum dot is placed inside a cavity within a larger crystal – the semiconductor chip. The dot is then bombarded with light from a laser which makes it absorb energy. This energy is then emitted in the form of a photon.
Placing the nanocrystal inside a very small cavity makes the laser light bounce around inside the walls. This speeds up the photon production by the Purcell Effect. One problem is that the photons carrying data information can easily become confused with the laser light.
The Sheffield researchers have overcome this by funnelling the photons away from the cavity and inside the chip to separate the two different types of pulse.
In this way, the team have succeeded in making the photon emission rate about 50 times faster than would be possible without using the Purcell Effect. Although this isn’t the fastest photon light pulse yet developed, it has a crucial advantage because the photons produced are all identical – an essential quality for many quantum computing applications.
Mark Fox, Professor of Optical Physics at the University of Sheffield, explains: “Using photons to transmit data enables us to use the fundamental laws of physics to guarantee security. It’s impossible to measure or ‘read’ the particle in any way without changing its properties. Interfering with it would therefore spoil the data and sound an alarm.”
He added: “Our method also solves a problem that has puzzled scientists for about 20 years – how to use this Purcell Effect to speed up photon production in an efficient way.
“This technology could be used within secure fibre optic telecoms systems, although it would be most useful initially in environments where security is paramount, including governments and national security headquarters.”
Learn more: Faster photons could enable total data security
The Latest on: Secure communications
via Google News
The Latest on: Secure communications
- Honeywell Partners CounterPath for Communication Solutionon January 10, 2020 at 1:58 pm
Honeywell International Inc. HON recently announced that it has partnered with CounterPath Corp. CPAH to develop a new unified communications software solution — Smart Talk. Developed for business ...
- Microsoft says Skype audio is now reviewed in ‘secure facilities’ after a worrying reporton January 10, 2020 at 12:21 pm
Microsoft says it reviewed its processes and communications with customers over the summer. “As a result, we’ve updated our privacy statement to be even more clear about this work, and since then ...
- Arduino Aims to Secure IoT With New Dev Platform, Hardwareon January 10, 2020 at 10:02 am
It features a crypto-authentication chip and communications modules for WiFi ... Arm is partnering with Arduino to make secure, connectable and manageable devices available to a broad base of ...
- New quantum loop provides long national testbed for quantum communication technologyon January 10, 2020 at 10:00 am
"Research leading to science infrastructure such as the quantum loop will ensure that America remains a world leader in this pivotal, rapidly evolving field which will open up important new avenues of ...
- An 80 kg setup is the world's first portable quantum satellite communication stationon January 10, 2020 at 12:28 am
Now, China has developed the world's first mobile quantum satellite station. The mobile, portable satellite station leverages the intrinsic properties of photons for establishing a secure channel for ...
- DIY communications networks to trend in 2020, says major telcoon January 9, 2020 at 3:29 pm
Take this mobile device management course from PluralSight and learn how to secure devices in your company without degrading the user experience.] Telenor Group is a mobile, broadband and TV-services ...
- Dapasoft Announces Corolar ConnectedCare, a Microsoft Teams Native Application for Clinical Communication and Collaborationon January 9, 2020 at 4:53 am
It is a secure communication solution for clinician-to-clinician collaboration within the Microsoft Teams environment. With Corolar ConnectedCare App, clinicians can easily access patient data from ...
- Super-Secure Smartphone-as-Car-Key Technology Still Two Years Outon January 8, 2020 at 8:18 pm
Your car keys are about to get a whole lot more secure, and as a bonus your next smartphone might let you walk up to your car, climb in, and be recognized just as you would be with your old-school key ...
- NWN to Present on Unified Communications Innovation at 2020 Project Voiceon January 8, 2020 at 5:00 am
/PRNewswire/ -- NWN, a leading tech-enabled service provider focused on transforming the customer experience, will highlight the NWN Unified ...
via Bing News