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October 21, 2021

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Practical continuous-variable quantum key distribution with composable security

By Nitin Jain, Hou-Man Chin, Hossein Mani, Cosmo Lupo, Dino Solar Nikolic, Arne Kordts, Stefano Pirandola, Thomas Brochmann Pedersen, Matthias Kolb, Bernhard Ömer, Christoph Pacher, Tobias Gehring, Ulrik L. Andersen.

Submitted to arXiv on 18 October 2021.

A quantum key distribution (QKD) system must fulfill the requirement of universal composability to ensure that any cryptographic application (using the QKD system) is also secure. Furthermore, the theoretical proof responsible for security analysis and key generation should cater to the number N of the distributed quantum states being finite in practice. Continuous-variable (CV) QKD based on coherent states, despite being a suitable candidate for integration in the telecom infrastructure, has so far been unable to demonstrate composability as existing proofs require a rather large N for successful key generation. Here we report the first Gaussian-modulated coherent state CVQKD system that is able to overcome these challenges and can generate composable keys secure against collective attacks with N≲3.5×108 coherent states. With this advance, possible due to novel improvements to the security proof and a fast, yet low-noise and highly stable system operation, CVQKD implementations take a significant step towards their discrete-variable counterparts in practicality, performance, and security.

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