Experimental quantum key distribution with finite-key security analysis for noisy channels

In quantum key distribution implementations, each session is typically chosen long enough so that the secret key rate approaches its asymptotic limit. However, this choice may be constrained by the physical scenario, as in the perspective use with satellites, where the passage of one terminal over the other is restricted to a few minutes. Here we demonstrate experimentally the extraction of secure keys leveraging an optimal design of the prepare-and-measure scheme, according to recent finite-key theoretical tight bounds. The experiment is performed in different channel conditions, and assuming two distinct attack models: individual attacks or general quantum attacks. The request on the number of exchanged qubits is then obtained as a function of the key size and of the ambient quantum bit error rate. The results indicate that viable conditions for effective symmetric, and even one-time-pad, cryptography are achievable.


Davide Bacco, Matteo Canale, Nicola Laurenti, Giuseppe Vallone, Paolo Villoresi

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Nature Communications

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