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Reconfigurable, Reliable, and Secure Quantum Communication Networks

Sponsored by National Science Foundation

$520K Funding
1 People

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The current information era closely relates to the Internet technology with traffic projected to grow exponentially in years to come. Although there are many proposals on how to deal with the upcoming bandwidth capacity crunch, the security of optical networks seems to be almost completely neglected. By taping out the portion of a dense wavelength division multiplexing signal, huge amounts of data can be compromised. Therefore, the security of the future network infrastructure is becoming one of the major issues?to be addressed sooner, rather than later. In this project, the University of Arizona (UA) team will coherently utilize the concepts of cryptography, quantum information theory, and nanophotonics to develop the next generation of quantum-enabled secure communication networks. The proposed project will significantly contribute to the major effort of providing ultimate security for future information infrastructure in the US as well as globally. At the same time, the proposed high-speed, secure, reliable quantum networking approaches will be a framework for cross-disciplinary research in quantum networks, cryptography, quantum information theory, quantum nanophotonics, coding theory, and fiber-optics technologies. This project will advance the quantum information science and technology by formulating a new framework to enable high-rate, robust, and scalable terrestrial quantum communication networks (QCNs) that use novel hybrid continuous variable (CV)-discrete variable (DV) protocols to achieve multiaccess quantum key distribution (QKD). To extend the transmission distance between nodes, the project will pursue postquantum cryptography/covert channel-based error correction, restricted eavesdropping, and hybrid measurement-device-independent (MDI)-QKD concepts. The proposed QCNs will be highly robust against channel impairments, including dispersion effects in fiber links and atmospheric turbulence in free-space optical links. By simultaneously solving the existing problems in both DV- and CV-QKD schemes and advancing towards QCNs, the UA team will develop an innovative concept and framework to attain the ultimate security for future network infrastructure in the US. The project focus is to: 1) develop novel hybrid CV-DV QKD protocols with extremely high secret key rates (SKRs) on the order of 10s of Gb/s; 2) fabricate high-speed integrated transceivers to support the proposed hybrid CV-DV QKD schemes; 3) develop postquantum cryptography/covert channel-based error correction for the hybrid CV-DV QKD, the restricted-eavesdropping concept, and hybrid MDI-QKD to significantly extend achievable transmission distances and increase the SKR; and 4) design quantum networking architectures based on these novel QKD concepts and experimentally demonstrate the proposed QCN concepts in a new terrestrial prototype at UA. The proposed QCNs will be genuinely secured by the fundamental principles of quantum physics, with secret key rates comparable to the classical-communication network data rates. Moreover, the proposed QCNs will provide an unprecedented security level for technologies with major societal and social impacts and benefits, suchas 6G wireless networks, the Internet-of-Things (IoT), and autonomous vehicles. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.