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Cambridge scientists discover way to build multi-user quantum key networks

John E Dunn | Sept. 6, 2013
The era in which everyday communications are protected from surveillance by the physics of quantum cryptography has moved a little closer with the news that scientists at Toshiba's Cambridge Research Lab have invented a way for multiple users to share one of the technology's most important but pricey components.

The latest development was necessary to allow QKD to scale to large numbers of users, giving it a means of getting beyond today's niche applications, he said.

Advances have been incremental, such as a previous breakthrough that allowed QKD to share an optical fibre with conventional wave division multiplexing optical communications.

QKD's lure remains very strong because it offers a way to harness the principles of quantum physics to send data between users such that any interception or surveillance cannot be hidden as it can today with photo-electronic technologies. The NSA doubtless has a great interest in such systems - as long as nobody else is using them.


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