Browse Prior Art Database

A High Speed Quantum Communication Testbed

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000125644D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jun-09
Document File: 6 page(s) / 197K

Publishing Venue

National Institute of Standards and Technology

Related People

Carl J. Williams: INVENTOR [+13]

Abstract

We describe the status of the NIST Quantum Communication Testbed (QCT) facility. QCT is a facility for exploring quantum communication in an environment similar to that projected for early commercial implementations: quantum cryptographic key exchange on a gigabit/second free-space optical (FSO) channel. Its purpose is to provide an open platform for testing and validating performance in the application, network, and physical layers of quantum communications systems. The channel uses modified commercial FSO equipment to link two buildings on the Gaithersburg, MD campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), separated by approximately 600 meters. At the time of writing, QCT is under construction; it will eventually be made available to the research community as a user facility. This paper presents the basic design considerations underlying QCT, and reports the status of the project.

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A High Speed Quantum Communication Testbed

Carl J. Williams, Xiao Tang, Mikko Hiekkero, Julie Rouzaud, Richang Lu, Andreas Goedecke, Alan Migdall, Alan Mink, Anastase Nakassis, Leticia Pibida, Jesse Wen a, Edward Hagley a,and

Charles W. Clark

National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899

a also Wen, Hagley, and Associates, Rockville, MD 20850 ABSTRACT

We describe the status of the NIST Quantum Communication Testbed (QCT) facility. QCT is a facility for exploring quantum communication in an environment similar to that projected for early commercial implementations: quantum cryptographic key exchange on a gigabit/second free-space optical (FSO) channel. Its purpose is to provide an open platform for testing and validating performance in the application, network, and physical layers of quantum communications systems. The channel uses modified commercial FSO equipment to link two buildings on the Gaithersburg, MD campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), separated by approximately 600 meters. At the time of writing, QCT is under construction; it will eventually be made available to the research community as a user facility. This paper presents the basic design considerations underlying QCT, and reports the status of the project.

Keywords: quantum cryptography, free-space optical communications, gigabit ethernet

1. INTRODUCTION

Quantum key distribution (QKD) has progressed rapidly since the first tabletop experiments1. For example, the BB84 protocol2 has recently been implemented over channels consisting of 64 kilometers of optical fiber3 and 10 km of open air4. The latter accomplishment is of particular significance because the optical depth of the path is equivalent to that of an earth-to-satellite link. Thus, quantum key distribution has matured to the level of a technical demonstration project, and commercial turnkey systems are coming to market5. However, there is still a relatively limited basis of experience with quantum cryptographic key exchange in a realistic modern network environment, and the commercial viability of quantum communication will depend upon its demonstrated performance in such environments. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in collaboration with the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) has thus undertaken an effort to build a high-speed quantum communication test-bed facility (QCT). This facility is aimed at providing a 1GHz dedicated quantum channel, which can be used to test and validate performance of quantum communications systems in the application, network, and physical layers.

The NIST QCT has several fundamental differences from previous quantum communication systems. First, it is aimed at being a realistic high-speed quantum communications facility that is integrated into the internet. The goal of this facility is to provide a prototype system and to develop the infrastructure for producing a scalable quantum com...