Quantum cryptography harnesses quantum light, in particular single photons, to provide security guarantees that cannot be reached by classical means. For each cryptographic task, the security feature of interest is directly related to the photons’ non-classical properties. Quantum dot-based single-photon sources are remarkable candidates, as they can in principle emit deterministically, with high brightness and low multiphoton contribution. Here, we show that these sources provide additional security benefits, thanks to the tunability of coherence in the emitted photon-number states. Generating either mixed or coherent states of light allows for enhanced performance of many quantum cryptography applications. We identify the optimal optical pumping scheme for the main quantum-cryptographic primitives, and benchmark their performance with respect to Poisson-distributed sources such as attenuated laser states and down-conversion sources. The presented results will guide future developments in solid-state and quantum information science for photon sources that are tailored to quantum communication tasks.
Mathieu Bozzio, Michal Vyvlecka, Michael Cosacchi, Cornelius Nawrath, Tim Seidelmann, Juan Carlos Loredo, Simone Luca Portalupi, Vollrath Martin Axt, Peter Michler, Philip Walther