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What is quantum tech demo by DRDO and IIT Delhi all about?

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Developments in Science and Technology.



Recently, a joint team of experts from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi demonstrated the Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) link for a distance of over 100 kilometres.


Why is this significant?

  • With this success, the country has demonstrated indigenous technology of secure key transfer for bootstrapping military-grade communication security key
  • This technology will enable security agencies to plan a suitable quantum communication network with indigenous technology backbone.


What is Quantum Key Distribution?

QKD provides for secure communication using various components of quantum mechanics.

  • The technology enables two communicating sides to come up with random secret keys shared by both of them and known exclusively to them, so only they can use it to encrypt and decrypt messages, thus achieving a very highly-secure communication.


How it works?

  • QKD works by transmitting millions of polarized light particles (photons) over a fiber optic cable from one entity to another.
  • Each photon has a random quantum state, and collectively all the photons create a bit stream of ones and zeros.
  • When a photon reaches its receiving end, it’ll travel through a beam splitter, which forces the photon to randomly take one path or another into a photon collector.
  • The receiver will then respond to the original sender with data regarding the sequence of the photons sent, and the sender will then compare that with the emitter, which would have sent each photon.
  • Photons in the wrong beam collector are discarded, and what’s left is a specific sequence of bits. This bit sequence can then be used as a key to encrypt data.


Current Affairs


What makes QKD unbreakable?

The security of QKD stems from the ability to detect any intrusion on the QKD transmission. Because of the unique and fragile properties of photons, any third party (or eavesdropper) who tries to read or copy the photons in any way will change the photons’ state.

  • The change will be detected by the endpoints, alerting them that the key has been tampered with and must be discarded.
  • A new key is then transmitted. Moreover, since the keys generated are truly random, they are protected from future hacking attempts.


Current Affairs


Need for QKD:

  • QKD is essential to address the threat that rapid advancement in Quantum Computing poses to the security of the data being transported by various critical sectors through the current communication networks.
  • It will enable security agencies to plan a suitable quantum communication network with indigenous technology backbone.



Prelims Link:

  1. What are qubits?
  2. What is Quantum technology?
  3. What are photons?
  4. What is QSD?

Mains Link:

Discuss why QSD is seen as superior technology when compared to others.

Sources: Indian Express