Quantum key establishment via a multimode fiber

Lyubov V. Amitonova*, Tristan B.H. Tentrup, Ivo M. Vellekoop, Pepijn W.H. Pinkse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
172 Downloads (Pure)


Quantum communication aims to provide absolutely secure transmission of secret information. State-of-the-art methods encode symbols into single photons or coherent light with much less than one photon on average. For long-distance communication, typically a single-mode fiber is used and significant effort has been devoted already to increase the data carrying capacity of a single optical line. Here we propose and demonstrate a fundamentally new concept for remote key establishment. Our method allows high-dimensional alphabets using spatial degrees of freedom by transmitting information through a light-scrambling multimode fiber and exploiting the no-cloning theorem. Eavesdropper attacks can be detected without using randomly switched mutually unbiased bases. We prove the security against a common class of intercept-resend and beam-splitting attacks with single-photon Fock states and with weak coherent light. Since it is optical fiber based, our method allows to naturally extend secure communication to larger distances. We experimentally demonstrate this new type of key exchange method by encoding information into a few-photon light pulse decomposed over guided modes of an easily available multimode fiber.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5965-5981
Number of pages17
JournalOptics express
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2020


  • Cybersecurity
  • Quantum communication


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