Scientists have devised a photonic chip system capable of almost unbreakable quantum communications (using quantum key distribution), with enough performance to secure video calls over long distances and enough stability to run for days. The device combines quantum transmitter and receiver microchips with a four-billion-bit-per-second chip-based quantum random number generator.
Quantum computers under development around the world have the potential to bypass current encryption mechanisms for secure communications. To combat this threat, researchers worldwide are working on quantum cryptography technology that can withstand such attacks.
Encryption depends on a sender and receiver sharing a key that decrypts a message’s contents. With quantum key distribution, the sender and receiver share random secret keys encoded in particles. Usually, pairs of photons are created simultaneously. Each photon is linked or “entangled” with its partner, so any potential eavesdropper seeking to intercept these keys would alter their data in ways both the sender and receiver can detect.
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