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Proof-of-Principle Experimental Demonstration of Twin-Field Type Quantum Key Distribution

The groups of Professor Hoi-Kwong Lo (U of T Physics and ECE) and Professor Li Qian (ECE) collaborated on an experiment on Long-Haul Quantum Key Distribution. This work was featured in Physical Review Letters and was selected as the editor's suggestion!
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The twin-field (TF) quantum key distribution (QKD) protocol and its variants are highly attractive because they can beat the well-known fundamental limit of the secret key rate for point-to-point QKD without quantum repeaters (repeaterless bound). In this Letter, we perform a proof-of-principle experimental demonstration of TFQKD based on the protocol proposed by Curty, Azuma, and Lo, which removes the need for postselection on the matching of a global phase from the original TFQKD scheme and can deliver a high secret key rate. Furthermore, we employ a Sagnac loop structure to help overcome the major difficulty in the practical implementation of TFQKD, namely, the need to stabilize the phase of the quantum state over kilometers of fiber. As a proof-of-principle demonstration, the estimated secure key rate from our experimental TFQKD data at the high loss region surpasses the repeaterless bound of QKD with current technology.

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The experiment was done by PhD student, Ms. Xiaoqing Zhong who is co-supervised by Professor Hoi-Kwong Lo (U of T Physics Department and ECE) and by Professor Li Qian (ECE) .