On 10 January 2022 members of the MeTISQ consortium had a paper published in Nature Communications detailing their successful investigations of twin-field quantum key distribution  as a viable solution for real-world quantum communications.


Quantum mechanics allows distribution of intrinsically secure encryption keys by optical means. Twin-field quantum key distribution is one of the most promising techniques for its implementation on long-distance fiber networks, but requires stabilizing the optical length of the communication channels between parties. In proof-of-principle experiments based on spooled fibers, this was achieved by interleaving the quantum communication with periodical stabilization frames. In this approach, longer duty cycles for the key streaming come at the cost of a looser control of channel length, and a successful key-transfer using this technique in real world remains a significant challenge. Using interferometry techniques derived from frequency metrology, we develop a solution for the simultaneous key streaming and channel length control, and demonstrate it on a 206 km field-deployed fiber with 65 dB loss. Our technique reduces the quantum-bit-error-rate contributed by channel length variations to <1%, representing an effective solution for real-world quantum communications.


Clivati, C., Meda, A., Donadello, S. et al. Coherent phase transfer for real-world twin-field quantum key distribution. Nature Communications 13, 157 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-27808-1