High speed coherent one-way quantum key distribution prototype

Research paper by Damien Stucki, Claudio Barreiro, Sylvain Fasel, Jean-Daniel Gautier, Olivier Gay, Nicolas Gisin, Rob Thew, Yann Thoma, Patrick Trinkler, Fabien Vannel, Hugo Zbinden

Indexed on: 30 Sep '08Published on: 30 Sep '08Published in: Quantum Physics


We report the first real world implementation of a Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) system over a 43dB-loss transmission line in the Swisscom fibre optic network. The QKD system is capable of continuous and autonomous operation and uses the coherent one-way (COW) protocol. This system brings together three key concepts for future QKD systems: a simple high-speed protocol; high performance detection; and integration, both at the component level as well for connectivity with standard fibre networks. Here, we show laboratory and field trial results for this system. The full prototype version uses InGaAs/InP avalanche photodiodes (APDs) and was laboratory tested up to 150km, with a 10-hour exchange averaging around 2kbps of real-time distilled secret bits over 100km. In the field trials, we obtained average distribution rates, during 3 hours, of 2.5bps over a 43dB-loss line of 150km, when using superconducting single photon detectors (SSPDs).