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Researchers unite to distribute quantum keys
Date:7/2/2009

Researchers from across Europe have united to build the largest quantum key distribution network ever built. The efforts of 41 research and industrial organisations were realised as secure, quantum encrypted information was sent over an eight node, mesh network.

With an average link length of 20 to 30 kilometres, and the longest link being 83 kilometres, the researchers from organisations such as the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology (formerly Austrian Research Centers), id Quantique, Toshiba Research in the UK, Universit de Genve, the University of Vienna, CNRS, Thales, LMU Munich, Siemens, and many more have broken all previous records and taken another huge stride towards practical implementation of secure, quantum-encrypted communication networks.

A journal paper, 'The SECOQC Key Distribution Network in Vienna', published as part of IOP Publishing's New Journal of Physics' Focus Issue on 'Quantum Cryptography: Theory and Practice', illustrates the operation of the network and gives an initial estimate for transmission capacity (the maximum amount of keys that can be exchanged on a quantum key distribution, QKD, network).

Undertaken in late 2008, using the company internal glass fibre ring of Siemens and 4 of its dependencies across Vienna plus a repeater station, near St. Plten in Lower Austria, the QKD demonstration involved secure telephone communication and video-conference as well as a rerouting experiment which demonstrated the functionality of the SEcure COmmunication network based on Quantum Cryptography (SECOQC).

One of the first practical applications to emerge from advances in the sometimes baffling study of quantum mechanics, quantum cryptography has become a soon-to-be reached benchmark in secure communications.

Quantum mechanics describes the fundamental nature of matter at the atomic level and offers very intriguing, often counter-intuitive, explanations to help us understand the bui
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Contact: Joseph Winters
joseph.winters@iop.org
44-020-747-04815
Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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