Quantum Flows for Secret Key Distribution in the Presence of the Photon Number Splitting Attack uri icon


  • © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.Physical implementations of quantum key distribution (QKD) protocols, like the Bennett-Brassard (BB84), are forced to use attenuated coherent quantum states, because the sources of single photon states are not functional yet for QKD applications. However, when using attenuated coherent states, the relatively high rate of multi-photonic pulses introduces vulnerabilities that can be exploited by the photon number splitting (PNS) attack to brake the quantum key. Some QKD protocols have been developed to be resistant to the PNS attack, like the decoy method, but those define a single photonic gain in the quantum channel. To overcome this limitation, we have developed a new QKD protocol, called ack-QKD, which is resistant to the PNS attack. Even more, it uses attenuated quantum states, but defines two interleaved photonic quantum flows to detect the eavesdropper activity by means of the quantum photonic error gain (QPEG) or the quantum bit error rate (QBER). The physical implementation of the ack-QKD is similar to the well-known BB84 protocol

Publication date

  • January 1, 2014