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2009 year, number 4

Using Single-Photon Detectors for Quantum Key Distribution in an Experimental Fiber-Optic Communication System

V. L. Kurochkin, A. V. Zverev, Y. V. Kurochkin, I. I. Ryabtsev, I. G. Neizvestny
Keywords: quantum computer science, quantum cryptography, single-photon detectors
Pages: 110-119


This paper gives experimental results of quantum key distribution on a fiber-optic setup at a telecom wavelength of 1555 nm. A self-compensated two-channel optical circuit is used. Quantum key distribution was performed by coding the phase states of single photons radiated by a pulsed semiconductor laser in two alternative nonorthogonal bases. Specially developed single photon counters based on InGaAs:InP avalanche photodiodes were employed as high-sensitivity photodetectors. The results of investigation of the quantum efficiency, probability of afterpulses, and noise level for various operating modes of the detectors at temperatures from 40 to 60 °C are given. A key distribution rate of 450 bit/s was obtained for a single-mode fiber-optic quantum communication channel between the receiver and sender 25 km long at a laser pulse clock frequency of 5 MHz and an average number of photons per pulse of about 0.2. For the achieved photodetector characteristics, the average number of errors in the quantum key did not exceed 3.7 %.