NIST System Sets Speed Record

May 4, 2004 | Source: KurzweilAI

The fastest known cryptographic system based on transmission of single photons — the “quantum key distribution” (QKD) system — has been demonstrated by a team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The system transmits a stream of individual photons to generate a verifiably secret key at a rate of 1 megabit/second — about 100 times faster than previously reported systems of this type.

The secret: it identifies a photon from the sender among a large number of photons from other sources, such as the sun. To make this distinction, scientists time-stamp the QKD photons, then look for them only when one is expected to arrive.

NIST news release