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Researchers at the University of Sydney just made a major breakthrough in cyber security. They managed to get single photons to behave as carriers of quantum information in security systems. Their work brings us one giant step closer to developing password exchange mechanisms that can only be broken by breaking the laws of physics.
“Quantum communication and computing are the next generation technologies poised to change the world,” said Dr Chunle Xiong from the School of Physics at the university.
Generating photons is a tricky business, but is vital to reliable quantum communications. Photons are generated simultaneously in entangled pairs, each in one of two photon streams. Detecting photons in one stream reveals information about the timing of photons in the other. This allows for extremely precise management of photon events.
“Implementing optical quantum technologies has now come down to one fundamental challenge: having indistinguishable single photons on-demand,” Dr Xiong said.
“This research has demonstrated that the odds of being able to generate a single photon can be doubled by using a relatively simple technique — and this technique can be scaled up to ultimately generate single photons with 100% probability.”
This research is about to revolutionise our ability to securely exchange data, said Professor Benjamin Eggleton, director of the Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems at the University of Sydney.
“The ability to generate single photons, which form the backbone of technology used in laptops and the internet, will drive the development of local secure communications systems – for safeguarding defence and intelligence networks, the financial security of corporations and governments and bolstering personal electronic privacy, like shopping online,” he said.