- Terra Quantum researchers report that they set a world record for securing long-distance communications with quantum encryption.
- The company said it succeeded in sending quantum-secure communications on a 1,032-kilometer fiber-optic cable at a much higher key rate than the previous record.
- This achievement can pave the way for highly secure communications.
PRESS RELEASE — Researchers with Terra Quantum, a leader in quantum technology, have set a world record for securing long-distance communications with quantum encryption, paving the way for offering enterprises an unprecedentedly affordable and secure way to send data over optical fiber. there is a network.
Terra Quantum successfully transmits quantum-security communications on a 1,032-kilometer fiber-optic cable at a much higher data transmission rate (lock rate) than the previous record (previously: 0.0034 bits per second; now: 34 bits per second) (arXiv paper). The experiment validates Terra Quantum’s new approach to long-range secure quantum communications, utilizing an infrastructure similar to that used in existing telecommunication networks. This approach was first proposed by Terra Quantum in 2021 and was recently published and confirmed, in the peer-reviewed journal Properties: Scientific report.
“A global quantum security communications network is reachable. Our achievement marks a milestone, which research teams around the world have been trying to achieve over the past few years,” said Markus Pflitsch, Founder and CEO of Terra Quantum. “The Terra Quantum approach makes global quantum security data transmission scalable without special quantum equipment. This is the start of the highest level of cybersecurity.”
The world record achieved by Terra Quantum builds on a new theory of Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) encryption that lifts previous constraints on distance and data transmission rate in quantum-secure communications. Other approaches require deploying dedicated quantum transmission hardware along the fiber in use, namely quantum amplifier, or using special-purpose fibers to achieve longer distances than QKD encryption.
Instead, Terra Quantum has formulated and validated an approach that utilizes conventional optical fibers and optical amplifiers. Similar hardware is already used in today’s communications infrastructure. Technology users only need quantum encryption and hardware decoding at both sending and receiving sites.
On this basis, Terra Quantum achieves a much higher QKD rate (i.e. secure data transmission rate) over a much greater distance than all previous approaches with a transmission rate of 34 bits per second over 1032 kilometers. Recent experiments by scientists from the University of Science and Technology of China, Jinan Institute of Quantum Technology, and Shanghai Institute of Microsystems and Information Technology reached a distance of 1,002 kilometers at a speed of 0.0034 bits per second (see Figure 1).
The introduction of remote QKD promises unconditional data communication security, making unauthorized interception of physically transmitted data impossible. It has broad commercial and governmental applications, across banking, state and scientific institutions, and consumer technology. Application technology can protect government agencies from foreign intelligence agencies, help companies defend against corporate espionage, or support banks in securing customers’ financial transactions.
Technical Deep Dive
Among various approaches to QKD in global research, Twin-Field QKD (TFQKD) has been proven to be the most effective over long distances as it overcomes the decrease in secret communication speed exponentially with channel length due to signal loss and decay (limit key rate after exponential decay begins). often referred to as the Pirandola–Laurenza–Ottaviani–Banch bond).
Although it is understood to be the most effective among QKD techniques, the previous approach using TFQKD is not feasible for global scalability. Because this approach uses single-photon states, the transmission signal strength is too low to be amplified by an optical repeater. As a result, they rely on quantum repeaters or trusted nodes as amplification components along the transmission path – leading to weaknesses in the level of security and transmission of encrypted signals.
The Terra Quantum approach uses multi-photon states, increasing the strength of the optical signal to levels that can be amplified by conventional optical repeaters, enabling higher transmission rates and distances, as well as increased levels of security.