“Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502) and Toshiba Research Europe Limited’s Cambridge Research Laboratory in the UK have brought the enhanced security of quantum cryptography closer to practical realization with development of the world’s fastest quantum key distribution device. The device has achieved a key data distribution speed of 13.7 megabits per second *1. The speed is about seven times the previous fastest quantum key distribution speed: the 1.9Mbps that Toshiba achieved in 2016.
The details of the new device will be announced at the QCrypt 2017 conference, which will be held at the University of Cambridge from September 18-22.
In quantum cryptography, bits are carried and transmitted on individual photons, which cannot be read-out without leaving errors as evidence of the intrusion. Thanks to this property it is possible to test and guarantee the secrecy of quantum keys.
Quantum cryptography realizes secure transfers of all manner of confidential information, including biometric data and genomic data. But practical application requires higher communication speeds. This is especially true for secret communications using a one-time pad cipher—the most secure method for data encryption known, which is completely secure from crypt-analysis.
Quantum key distribution is the process of generating a unique code key that is shared by, and known only to, the sender and recipient. Encryption of the message with a quantum key protects its confidentiality by transforming it into an unintelligible form.
Toshiba realized the improved quantum key distribution speed, the world’s fastest, by developing high speed detectors and electronics for registering the photon signals, as well as new faster methods for post-processing of the signals into a secret key. The new methods include realization of the error correction and privacy amplification steps in hardware, which greatly improves the post-processing speed and overcomes the bottleneck in current software implementations.
Dr. Osamu Hori, Director of Corporate Research & Development Center at Toshiba Corporation said: “Our latest achievement is a big step towards commercialization of quantum cryptography. We are the leader in the field, and already applying quantum cryptography to secure transmission of genome data in Japan. Demand for secure transfers of confidential information is stronger than ever, and I am sure that quantum cryptography will play an increasingly important role.”
Toshiba started basic research into quantum cryptography in 2003 at the Cambridge Research Laboratory of Toshiba Research Europe Limited. They were the first to announce quantum key distribution at a bit rate exceeding 1Mbit/second in 2010. Since then Toshiba has demonstrated the practicality of the technology in several field trials in the UK and Japan.
Toshiba will continue research and development to increase the speed of quantum communication in support of the commercialization of quantum cryptography in the finance, healthcare and social infrastructure sectors.”