Breakthrough technology to improve cyber security—22 March 2016

With enough computing effort, most contemporary security systems will be broken, but a research team at The University of Sydney has made a major breakthrough in generating single photons (light particles) as carriers of quantum information in security systems. The collaboration involved physicists at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS) and electrical engineers from the School of Electrical and Information Engineering at The University of Sydney. The team resolved a key issue holding back the development of password exchange, which can only be broken by violating the laws of physics. CUDOS Director, Professor Ben Eggleton, said the interdisciplinary research was set to revolutionise our ability to exchange data securely—along with advancing quantum computing, which can search large databases exponentially faster. “The ability to generate single photons, which form the backbone of technology used in laptops and the internet, will drive the development of local secure communications systems—for safeguarding defence and intelligence networks, the financial security of corporations and governments and bolstering personal electronic privacy, like shopping online,” Professor Eggleton said.

Media issued by The University of Sydney.


Video: Photon switch in action. Photons are generated simultaneously in pairs, each in one of the photon streams. The detection of photons in one stream indicates the timing information of those in the other. Using this information, a proper timing control is dynamically applied to those photons so they appear at regular intervals. This new technique increases the rate of photons at the regular interval, which is extremely useful for quantum secure communication and quantum photonic computation.
Video credit: The University of Sydney

Original Published Date: 
Tuesday, March 22, 2016