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Startup to use IBM tech for optical cryptography

Posted by iTech - 2005-10-11

LONDON — Optical chip and module specialist Princeton Lightwave has licensed IBM’s single-photon detection (SPD) technology for use in an avalanche photodiode it is developing for single-photon counting devices targeted at qantum cryptography systems.
An SPD is an essential component of quantum cryptography systems, which enable extremely secure communications even in the presence of eavesdropping. Single-photon detectors are also used in optical and semiconductor test and measurement applications.

Princeton Lightwave (Cranbury, N.J.) will continue development of the SPD technology by combining it with its recently announced InGaAs/InP avalanche photodiode that has been specifically optimized for single-photon counting.

The companies say integrating this photodetector with the IBM technology would lead to a much higher performance system for such applications.

The IBM SPD technology was developed at its Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif. with partial funding by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Quantum Information Science and Technology (QuIST) program. SPD units produced by IBM have been deployed successfully by QuIST participants in a prototype metro-area network.

“Princeton Lightwave is the logical choice to continue development of our SPD technology,” said Mark Dean, IBM Fellow and Vice President, Almaden Research Center. “Integrating the innovations of our two companies will help accelerate the move of quantum key distribution from the laboratory into real-world use, which will help us achieve our goal of enhancing data security.”

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