Data security in photonic information systems using quantum based approaches
Clarke, Patrick Joseph
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The last two decades has seen a revolution in how information is stored and transmitted across the world. In this digital age, it is vital for banking systems, governments and businesses that this information can be transmitted to authorised receivers quickly and efficiently. Current classical cryptosystems rely on the computational difficulty of calculating certain mathematical functions but with the advent of quantum computers, implementing efficient quantum algorithms, these systems could be rendered insecure overnight. Quantum mechanics thankfully also provides the solution, in which information is transmitted on single-photons called qubits and any attempt by an adversary to gain information on these qubits is limited by the laws of quantum mechanics. This thesis looks at three distinct different quantum information experiments. Two of the systems describe the implementation of distributing quantum keys, in which the presence of an eavesdropper introduces unavoidable errors by the laws of quantum mechanics. The first scheme used a quantum dot in a micropillar cavity as a singlephoton source. A polarisation encoding scheme was used for implementing the BB84, quantum cryptographic protocol, which operated at a wavelength of 905 nm and a clock frequency of 40 MHz. A second system implemented phase encoding using asymmetric unbalanced Mach-Zehnder interferometers, with a weak coherent source, operating at a wavelength of 850 nm and pulsed at a clock rate of 1 GHz. The system used depolarised light propagating in the fibre quantum channel. This helps to eliminate the random evolution of the state of polarisation of photons, as a result of stress induced changes in the intrinsic birefringence of the fibre. The system operated completely autonomously, using custom software to compensate for path length fluctuations in the arms of the interferometer and used a variety of different single-photon detector technologies. The final quantum information scheme looked at quantum digital signatures, which allows a sender, Alice, to distribute quantum signatures to two parties, Bob and Charlie, such that they are able to authenticate that the message originated from Alice and that the message was not altered in transmission.