Feeds

Aussie boffins patent single-photon generator

One at a time, please

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

A group of Australian scientists has developed a new technique for producing single photons at room temperature, paving the way for real-world quantum cryptography. The research team already holds a worldwide patent on their invention, and has secured a AUD3.3m ($2.6m) grant from the Victorian government to develop their technology.

Scientists have known for some time that a laser beam can stimulate a diamond to emit single photons. Working from this starting point, Dr James Rabeau, a research fellow in the University of Melbourne's School of Physics, built a device that would send those single photons down an optical fibre.

Rabeau and co. used chemical vapour deposition to grow diamond crystals on the end of a section of optical fibre. The idea is that the laser will strike the diamond, stimulating the emission of a photon which will travel down the optical fibre as part of a message.

Quantum cryptography relies on the particle-like behaviour of light to secure transmission of data. Using the technology, two users can exchange secret keys, safe in the knowledge that no one could possible have eavesdropped on their 'conversation'.

Each bit of the key is encoded on a single photon. Intercepting that photon changes its polarisation, yielding no useful information to the eavesdropper and alerting the parties exchanging keys to the interception.

Rabeau's breakthrough is to have developed a cheap and reliable way of generating single photons, something he and his team says has not been possible up until now. However, as we reported last month, Toshiba has developed a single-photon-emitting LED, and numerous other products are available. ®

Related stories

Quantum crypto moves out of the lab
Quantum crypto comes to Blighty
Holy Grail of crypto to arrive in three years, say UK boffins

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.