back to article Rise of the photon clones: New method could lead to 'impenetrable' comms

Physicists have produced "near-perfect" clones of quantum information that can be used to send and retrieve information securely over long distances through quantum cryptography. Research into using quantum mechanics for cryptography reasons is a bustling area. More countries are beginning to invest in technology that could …

  1. Thomas Whipp

    "impenetrable privacy"

    a brief reading of the history of cryptography shows that this statement/assumption has been made many times over the years - generally its been found to be incorrect (and often also subject to side channel attacks in the implementations). Just because there aren't currently articulated attacks doesn't mean that don't/wont exist.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "impenetrable privacy"

      Thing is, SOME things can be physically proven. That's why no one challenges Turing's Halting Problem theorem: a reductio ad absurdum. The idea of quantum communications being impossible to tracelessly intercept goes IINM to the Uncertainty Principle. Basically, if you try to intercept the communique, you inevitably break the stream (due to the nature of the electrons used in transit) and tip off the parties that they're being tapped.

      Basically, if you can secretly tap a quantum communique, you've opened a much bigger can of worms than just breaking "bulletproof" secrecy.

      1. The_Idiot

        Re: "impenetrable privacy"

        "Basically, if you can secretly tap a quantum communique, you've opened a much bigger can of worms than just breaking "bulletproof" secrecy."

        Which doesn't mean it can't be done - just that 50 % of quantum physicists would have a nervous breakdown if it was, 50% would think all their birthdays had come at once, and 50% would do both.

        Yes - I know the maths smells funny. That's quantum, that is... :-)

        1. find users who cut cat tail

          Re: "impenetrable privacy"

          You cannot clone a quantum state (and I hate the article for using this term). You can *transfer* the state exactly to another particle but then you always lose it completely in the original particle. This is pretty fundamental.

          This ‘‘doesn't mean it can't be done’’ but the physics required would be beyond current quantum mechanics, and most likely beyond the Standard Model.

  2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

    One of the problems with quantum encryption ...

    The other one is my head hurts and I haven't even started trying to understand.

    I'll just stick to traditional relativity:

    You mustn't sleep with your sister,

    You shouldn't sleep with your cousin.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One of the problems with quantum encryption ...

      "

      I'll just stick to traditional relativity:

      You mustn't sleep with your sister,

      You shouldn't sleep with your cousin.

      "

      Sadly genetics is as much probabilities as quantum. And that traditional rule has been proven to be incorrect. It is far more dangerous to sleep with a cousin than a sibling. Though neither has a good outcome long term.

      A brother and sister have either 50% or 0% matching genes. If they procreate all it means is that their children will effectively be genetic "clones" of the grandparents, or the parents themselves.

      With cousins the potential overlap becomes as high as 75% and thats territory for recessive genes to start causing those very obvious side effects generally associated with in-breeding.

      Thats very simplisitic of course, the details are as tricksy as quantum physics for the unwary. Mixing both sibling and cousin in-breeding gets really mind boggling. But then thats genetics.

      So you mustn't sleep with yoru sister,

      you really, realy mustn't sleep with your cousin.

      1. John H Woods

        Re: One of the problems with quantum encryption ...

        "A brother and sister have either 50% or 0% matching genes" -- AC

        Not sure where you got that from but it is totally wrong. On average full sibs share 50% of their DNA, half sibs share 25%, full cousins share 12.5%. How on earth could full cousins have more genetic homology than full siblings?

    2. Kurt Meyer

      Re: One of the problems with quantum encryption ...

      @ Trigonoceps occipitalis re: traditional relativity

      "Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. that's relativity." - Albert Einstein

  3. JeffyPoooh
    Pint

    Well thank goodness...

    "...over those long distances quantum information can degrade. ...causing errors."

    It's fantastic that they've accomplished this, because nobody else has ever developed any sort of 'Error Detection and Correction Codes'. ;-)

    Ref. OSI 7 Layer model.

    Layers 1 & 2 - perhaps these would or could be quantum

    Layer 4, the Transport Layer (first layer of 'Error Detection and Correction' goes here)

    Communications can't be 100% quantum. At some point 'The Cat Must Die', and the information converted back to good old digital electronics. The EDAC can be layered on there.

  4. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Hmm. Is "near perfect" actually = "good enough" for "impenetrable" encryption/communication?

    I'm also a bit wary of this "probabilistic method" - can you really be sure about the size of the error margin you'll be working with?

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