[Offtopic] Diamonds and single photon encryption

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Sat Jun 24 01:01:57 EST 2006


Diamond based devices could be helping IT managers detect network 
snooping and prevent information theft, as anti-eavesdropping technology 
from the University of Melbourne receives venture funding. 

The technology, based on quantum cryptography, uses diamonds to produce a 
single photon of light .. according to Dr Shane Huntington, University of 
Melbourne scientist and CEO of Quantum Communications Victoria. 

"Existing communications systems are not foolproof because hackers or 
eavesdroppers can extract information from optical links without users 
being aware of it." he said.

First-generation products will be for very secure transmission of secure 
datasets .. Huntington said. It's a low transfer rate but the idea is not 
to send data [this way] but the encryption key so you don't need the same 
transfer rate. If you can securely transfer the key you can transfer the 
rest of that data over a standard telco line, he said. 

"It's not a stronger form of encoding, it's a new paradigm, so if someone 
steals the information you definitely know it's happened. If you're 
sending one photon at a time and one goes missing you know it." 

Huntington said the nascent industry already exists in the US and Europe, 
but commercial systems available today don't send one photon at a time -
 "they approximate it". 

"The technology we're developing is a true source of these single 
photons; [others] use a laser and put it through a filter so there is 
approximately one," he said. 

This is achieved by "growing" diamonds, which are "usually cleaner" than 
the mined gems, in QCV's lab. The synthetic diamonds have a defect which 
is the source of the single photon. 

The program began after QCV was awarded $3.3 million as part of a grant 
from Victoria's Department of Innovation Industry and Regional 
Development to develop the technology ..

Cheers all,
Stephen Loosley
Victoria, Australia

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