Quantum enigma machine: Experimentally demonstrating quantum data locking

Daniel J. Lum*, John C. Howell, M. S. Allman, Thomas Gerrits, Varun B. Verma, Sae Woo Nam, Cosmo Lupo, Seth Lloyd

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Shannon proved in 1949 that information-theoretic-secure encryption is possible if the encryption key is used only once, is random, and is at least as long as the message itself. Notwithstanding, when information is encoded in a quantum system, the phenomenon of quantum data locking allows one to encrypt a message with a shorter key and still provide information-theoretic security. We present one of the first feasible experimental demonstrations of quantum data locking for direct communication and propose a scheme for a quantum enigma machine that encrypts 6 bits per photon (containing messages, new encryption keys, and forward error correction bits) with less than 6 bits per photon of encryption key while remaining information-theoretically secure.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number022315
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number2
StatePublished - 12 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Contribution of NIST, an agency of the U.S. government, not subject to copyright. The authors thank J. Schneeloch and S. Knarr for editing and useful input. This work was sponsored by DARPA-DSO Quiness Grant No. W31P4Q-12-1-0015 and AFOSR Grant No. FA9550-13-1-0019.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Physical Society.


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