Anonymous conference key agreement in linear quantum networks

Jarn de Jong1, Frederik Hahn1,2, Jens Eisert2, Nathan Walk2, and Anna Pappa1

1Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Technische Universität Berlin, 10587 Berlin, Germany
2Dahlem Center for Complex Quantum Systems, Freie Universität Berlin, 14195 Berlin, Germany

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Sharing multi-partite quantum entanglement between parties allows for diverse secure communication tasks to be performed. Among them, conference key agreement (CKA) - an extension of key distribution to multiple parties - has received much attention recently. Interestingly, CKA can also be performed in a way that protects the identities of the participating parties, therefore providing $anonymity$. In this work, we propose an anonymous CKA protocol for three parties that is implemented in a highly practical network setting. Specifically, a line of quantum repeater nodes is used to build a linear cluster state among all nodes, which is then used to anonymously establish a secret key between any three of them. The nodes need only share maximally entangled pairs with their neighbours, therefore avoiding the necessity of a central server sharing entangled states. This linear chain setup makes our protocol an excellent candidate for implementation in future quantum networks. We explicitly prove that our protocol protects the identities of the participants from one another and perform an analysis of the key rate in the finite regime, contributing to the quest of identifying feasible quantum communication tasks for network architectures beyond point-to-point.

In recent years, the field of quantum communication and cryptography has advanced beyond the use of bipartite entanglement towards the use of multipartite entanglement. The benefit of using multipartite entangled states is evident in the scaling of some multipartite protocols for conference key agreement (CKA), enabling quantum key distribution schemes to be extended beyond two parties.

A new area of research is that of $\textit{anonymous conference key agreement}$ (ACKA). ACKA protocols enable participants to not only create a secret key between each other but also to remain anonymous throughout the entire communication network.

Our study focuses on ACKA in linear networks that naturally arise from repeater chains. We present a protocol for ACKA that uses linear cluster states as resources, and provide both security proofs and finite-key analysis. Finally, we analyze the performance of our protocol and show it to be noise robust.

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Cited by

[1] Lukas Rückle, Jakob Budde, Jarn de Jong, Frederik Hahn, Anna Pappa, and Stefanie Barz, "Experimental anonymous conference key agreement using linear cluster states", Physical Review Research 5 3, 033222 (2023).

[2] Alexander Pickston, Joseph Ho, Andrés Ulibarrena, Federico Grasselli, Massimiliano Proietti, Christopher L. Morrison, Peter Barrow, Francesco Graffitti, and Alessandro Fedrizzi, "Conference key agreement in a quantum network", npj Quantum Information 9 1, 82 (2023).

[3] F. Hahn, A. Dahlberg, J. Eisert, and A. Pappa, "Limitations of nearest-neighbor quantum networks", Physical Review A 106 1, L010401 (2022).

[4] Vaisakh Mannalath and Anirban Pathak, "Multiparty Entanglement Routing in Quantum Networks", arXiv:2211.06690, (2022).

The above citations are from Crossref's cited-by service (last updated successfully 2023-12-07 04:56:59) and SAO/NASA ADS (last updated successfully 2023-12-07 04:57:00). The list may be incomplete as not all publishers provide suitable and complete citation data.