Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.774625
Title: A multi-protocol quantum key distribution transmitter
Author: Roberts, George Lloyd
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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Abstract:
Quantum key distribution (QKD) is a technology that allows two users to communicate with theoretically perfect security using standard optical fibres. This is possible by transmitting the key on single photons, meaning a measurement by an eavesdropper disturbs the system in a way observable to the legitimate parties. The technology has advanced since the first protocol proposed in 1984, to the stage where there are now many protocols that can be experimentally implemented. These protocols have allowed secure keys to be generated over distances greater than 400 km and with secure key rates over 10 Mbit/s. In a metropolitan QKD network, it would be desirable for as many users to be connected as possible. Unfortunately, each protocol comes with different requirements on the transmitter and receiver. Even within a single protocol, different clock rates can require individualised transmitter and receiver hardware. This prohibits users from communicating with all receivers, unless they have complex transmitters with hardware for many protocols. This thesis develops a transmitter for practical QKD that is able to adapt to a number of different protocols with no changes to the hardware. The transmitter works using optical injection locking, where a pulse preparation laser adopts the phase of a phase preparation laser. Controlling the phase and intensity of the pulses in this way removes the side channel ordinarily present with direct modulation, in that the phase, intensity and frequency simultaneously change in response to an applied current. The cavity-enhanced electro-optic effect allows for the first demonstration of sub-volt half-wave phase modulation at high clock rates. The transmitter successfully demonstrates phase encoding, intensity encoding and on-demand phase randomisation. This allows for the experimental realisation and direct comparison of different QKD protocols, including one that has never before been implemented due to experimental complexity. A stable intensity modulator is also developed, based on a Sagnac interferometer. This removes a side channel in QKD systems and integrates well with the directly-modulated quantum transmitter. This development also means that the transmitter can implement all current two-party QKD protocols based on weak coherent pulses. The transmitter has the potential to become the standard transmitter for future quantum communication networks due to its stability, versatility and power efficiency. The design could also be demonstrated on a photonic chip, making it compact enough to fit in small transmitter units.
Supervisor: Savory, Seb Sponsor: Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 ; Toshiba Research Europe Ltd
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.774625  DOI:
Keywords: Quantum key distribution ; Optical fibre ; Quantum communications ; Transmitter ; QKD ; Optical injection locking
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