DST researchers comes up with simulation toolkit to safeguard secure quantum communication platforms
Researchers at Raman Research Institute (RRI), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), government of India have come up with unique simulation toolkit for end-to-end Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) simulation named as ‘qkdSim’, which is based on modular principles that allow it to be grown to different classes of protocols using various underpinning technologies. The research led by professor Urbasi Sinha and her team, in collaboration with professor Barry Sanders from the University of Calgary, Canada is a part of the Quantum Experiments using Satellite Technology (QuEST) project, India’s first satellite-based secure quantum communication effort, supported by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The toolkit offers exhaustive inclusion of different experimental imperfections, both device-based as well as process-based. Thus their simulation results will match with actual experimental implementations to much better accuracy than any other existing toolkit, making it a QKD experimenter’s best friend. As QKD is growing rapidly in academic, industrial, government, and defence laboratories, this newly developed simulation toolkit, accompanied by an instructive application to the uniquely designed B92 experiment, will be extremely influential, as per a statement. The B92 is a QKD protocol, which uses single photons and associated laws of Physics like the Uncertainty Principle and the No-Cloning theorem to assure perfect security. “Secure error free communication protocols are assuming extraordinary importance for which Quantum key distribution (QKD) is an attractive solution, which relies on a cryptographic protocol. A shared random secret key known only to the communicating parties is employed to encrypt and decrypt messages. A unique property of quantum key distribution is that any break in attempt by an unauthorized party is immediately detected. This is because any process of measuring a quantum system creates detectable anomalies,” said Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST. The research work is two-fold in its novelty as well as process development. On the one hand, they have developed a simulation toolkit, which bridges a significant gap in the QKD community. On the other hand, they have performed a novel implementation of what is called a prepare and measure QKD protocol (B92), which has higher key rates and lower quantum bit error rate than earlier reported works following similar source methodology.