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Photonic quantum data locking

Huang Z et al,2021, ‘Photonic quantum data locking’, Quantum 5, 447 (2021). DOI:

Quantum data locking is a quantum phenomenon that allows us to encrypt a long message with a small secret key with information-theoretic security. This is in sharp contrast with classical information theory where, according to Shannon, the secret key needs to be at least as long as the message. Here we explore photonic architectures for quantum data locking, where information is encoded in multi-photon states and processed using multi-mode linear optics and photo-detection, with the goal of extending an initial secret key into a longer one. The secret key consumption depends on the number of modes and photons employed. In the no-collision limit, where the likelihood of photon bunching is suppressed, the key consumption is shown to be logarithmic in the dimensions of the system. Our protocol can be viewed as an application of the physics of Boson Sampling to quantum cryptography. Experimental realisations are challenging but feasible with state-of-the-art technology, as techniques recently used to demonstrate Boson Sampling can be adapted to our scheme (e.g., Phys. Rev. Lett. 123, 250503, 2019).