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Title: Memory-assisted measurement-device-independent quantum key distribution systems
Author: Panayi, Christiana
ISNI:       0000 0004 5923 5445
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2016
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Quantum key distribution (QKD) is one of the most prominent methods for secure exchange of cryptographic keys between two users. The laws of physics provide it with an immense tool towards secure communications. Although QKD has been proven to reach distances on the order of a few hundreds of kilometers, the transmission rate of the key significantly drops when we go to further distances. One possible solution to this is to build a network of trusted nodes. The trust requirement will however narrow its scope of deployability. In this thesis, we focus on improving the key rate performance of secure communications by introducing imperfect quantum memories (QMs) in a measurement-device-independent (MDI) QKD system. In this thesis, a protocol with the potential of beating the existing distance records for conventional QKD systems is proposed. It borrows ideas from quantum repeaters by using memories in the middle of the link, and that of MDI-QKD, which only requires optical source equipment at the user’s end. For certain fast memories, our scheme allows a higher repetition rate than that of quantum repeaters, thereby requiring lower coherence times. By accounting for various sources of nonideality, such as memory decoherence, dark counts, misalignment errors, and background noise, as well as timing issues with memories, we develop a mathematical framework within which we can compare QKD systems with and without memories. In particular, we show that with the state-of-the-art technology for quantum memories, it is possible to devise memory-assisted QKD systems that, at certain distances of practical interest, outperform current QKD implementations. To extend this work, we consider a suitable candidate that fullfils the requirements we have set for the QMs, i.e., the ensemble-based QMs. This type of memories, nevertheless, suffers from multiple-excitation effects, which can deteriorate the performance of the memory-assisted MDI-QKD system. As a solution we propose an alternative approach to the memory-assisted MDI-QKD by employing entangled-photon sources. We fully analyse this system by including modulation errors during the state-preparation at a single-photon source. We identify under which regimes of operation this system outperforms present QKD implementations. Overall we obtain a realistic account of what can be done with current technologies in order to improve the performance, in terms of rate versus distance, of QKD systems. Our findings can guide us toward implementing larger quantum networks.
Supervisor: Razavi, Mohsen Sponsor: European Community's Seventh Framework Programme ; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available