CQC²T Chief Investigator Prof. Ping Koy Lam discusses using laser beams for quantum encryption. Prof Ping Koy Lam leads the Quantum Repeater Technology Program at CQC²T


Excerpt from article by Amanda Cox , Australian National University Science 

2020: another day, another headline announcing a new data breach. Even though it’s only June, we’re already on track to see hacking records broken. In the first quarter of this year alone, 8.4 billion records were exposed1.

Worldwide, spending on cyber security is skyrocketing. But our current methods for safe-guarding information don’t protect us from the biggest security threat looming around the corner: the inevitable breakdown of all encryption systems with increased computing power.

To find a solution, ANU researchers are looking to the realm of quantum physics. And: laser beams.

“If you turn on a laser beam, and if you measure it with high accuracy, you can record fluctuations in the brightness of light,” says Prof Ping Koy Lam.

“What we do is encode random numbers on the beam of a laser light, and we send that laser light to a receiver.”

As this information is encrypted in the laser beam, nobody can intercept the message: if an eavesdropper disrupts the laser beam, the act will be revealed to both the sender and the receiver. The string of random numbers will subsequently be discarded from use.

“If you get quantum encryption working properly, you can only break the code if the laws of physics themselves are broken.

“So, if our understanding of the laws of physics is correct, we have an unbreakable code.”

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