DFF Sapere Aude_Tobias Gehring_DTU Physics

Novel quantum key distribution technology for secure data transmission

Friday 20 Nov 20


Tobias Gehring
Associate Professor
DTU Physics
+45 93 51 16 49
Data from critical national infrastructures should be impossible to decrypt. Quantum key distribution offers a way to establish secure communication channels and improve internet security so that no one can tap in on critical information transmissions.  

Modern society's internet security is threatened by quantum computers which, when fully developed, will be capable of deciphering today's encryption. If confidential data from critical infrastructures such as government, military, banks, and companies fall into the wrong hands, it could have devastating consequences for society.

Associate professor Tobias Gehring from DTU Physics has received a Sapere Aude Research Leader grant of 6.2M DKK or conducting research into novel types of quantum key distribution (QKD) that offers a solution to the security threat.

"Quantum key distribution is based on the laws and principles of quantum mechanics. Using lasers and optical fibre technology, two parties can exchange quantum states and in that way generate and distribute a shared encryption key with guaranteed privacy", Tobias Gehring explains.

Ideally, any attempt to tap in on the communication channel will be discovered keeping the information secure.

Enable wide deployment

To enable wide deployment of QKD in telecom networks the QKD signal must be multiplexed with the classical communication signals. However, the strong classical signals add noise that cannot be distinguished from the noise cause by an adversary trying to hack the link. The noise levels that present state-of-the-art QKD systems can tolerate is not high enough to enable implementation of QKD in existing telecom networks.

"In this project, I will exploit special quantum states known as squeezed states to develop a novel quantum key distribution technique with a dramatically increased noise tolerance, thereby enabling integration into existing networks. This new technique will also reduced the overall power consumption of the cryptographics system", Tobias Gehring explains.