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The Super-Secure Quantum Cable Hiding in the Holland Tunnel

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Illustration of how a quantum key distribution cable works.

A quantum key distribution fiber-optic cable running through the Holland Tunnel harnesses the power of quantum mechanics to protect critical banking data.

Credit: : Butt Studio/Bloomberg Businessweek

Running through the Holland Tunnel between Lower Manhattan and New Jersey is a quantum key distribution (QKD) fiber-optic cable that harnesses the power of quantum mechanics to protect critical banking data from potential spies.

QKD utilizes the quantum physics idea that light can behave like a particle.

At each end of the fiber-optic line, QKD systems use lasers to fire data in weak pulses of light, each just slightly larger than a single photon. If any of the pulses' paths are interrupted and they do not arrive at the endpoint at the expected nanosecond, the sender and receiver know their communication has been compromised.

Estimates of the annual QKD market range from $50 million to $500 million, but demand for QKD and related technologies could reach $2 billion by 2024.

The Chinese government has created a 1,240-mile QKD-protected link between Beijing and Shanghai, and it has demonstrated the ability to use QKD to transmit and receive messages from a satellite.

From Bloomberg
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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