Device-independent quantum key distribution with single-photon sources

Jan Kołodyński1,2, Alejandro Máttar2, Paul Skrzypczyk3, Erik Woodhead2,4, Daniel Cavalcanti2, Konrad Banaszek1,5, and Antonio Acín2,6

1Centre for Quantum Optical Technologies, Centre of New Technologies, University of Warsaw, Banacha 2c, 02-097 Warsaw, Poland
2ICFO-Institut de Ciencies Fotoniques, The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, 08860 Castelldefels (Barcelona), Spain
3H. H. Wills Physics Laboratory, University of Bristol, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol, BS8 1TL, United Kingdom
4Laboratoire d'Information Quantique, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium
5Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw, Pasteura 5, 02-093 Warszawa, Poland
6ICREA-Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats, Lluis Companys 23, 08010 Barcelona, Spain

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$\textit{Device-independent quantum key distribution}$ protocols allow two honest users to establish a secret key with minimal levels of trust on the provider, as security is proven without any assumption on the inner working of the devices used for the distribution. Unfortunately, the implementation of these protocols is challenging, as it requires the observation of a large Bell-inequality violation between the two distant users. Here, we introduce novel photonic protocols for device-independent quantum key distribution exploiting $\textit{single-photon sources}$ and $\textit{heralding-type architectures}$. The heralding process is designed so that transmission losses become irrelevant for security. We then show how the use of single-photon sources for entanglement distribution in these architectures, instead of standard entangled-pair generation schemes, provides significant improvements on the attainable key rates and distances over previous proposals. Given the current progress in single-photon sources, our work opens up a promising avenue for device-independent quantum key distribution implementations.

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