BHUBANESWAR : The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Wednesday achieved a milestone in Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) technology that underwent maiden trials at two of its laboratories establishing highly secure communication.
The trials were conducted at Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) and Research Centre Imarat (RCI) at Hyderabad under realistic conditions. QKD is a secure communication method that uses cryptographic protocol involving components of quantum mechanics. Developed by Bengaluru-based Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR) and Defence Young Scientists’ Laboratory - Quantum Technology (DYSL-QT), Mumbai, the technology enables two communicators to produce a random secret key known only to them and later it can be used to encrypt and decrypt messages.
The quantum communication using time-bin QKD technology was performed during the trials and the setup demonstrated validation of detection of a third party trying to gain knowledge of the communication.
Defence sources said quantum based security against eavesdropping was validated for the deployed system at over 12 km range and 10 decibel attenuation over fibre optic channel.
Continuous-wave laser source was used to generate photons without depolarisation effect. DRDO Chairman Dr G Satheesh Reddy said the maiden trials of the newly developed technology have been highly successful. “This is a great achievement as quantum based communication offers a robust solution for secure communication. QKD is a significant achievement towards the development of futuristic quantum communication technologies,” he told TNIE.
Secure communications are vital for defence and strategic agencies worldwide and distribution of encryption keys from time to time is an important requirement. Sharing of keys over the air or wired links requires encryption which in turn requires encryption keys to be pre-shared. The DRDO had undertaken the project for development of the technology exclusively for Indian armed forces.
The work being done at DRDO will be used to enable start-ups and SMEs in the domain of quantum information technologies. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the DRDO team for successful demonstration of QKD communication.