Conditional beam-splitting attack on quantum key distribution

Stephen M. Barnett, John Calsamiglia, Norbert Lütkenhaus

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We present a different attack on quantum key distribution based on the idea of adaptive absorption [J. Calsamiglia et al., Phys. Rev. A (64, 043814 (2001)]. The conditional beam-splitting attack is shown to be much more efficient than the conventional beam splitting attack, achieving a performance similar to the, powerful but currently unfeasible, photon number splitting attack. The implementation of the conditional beam-splitting attack, based solely on linear optical elements, is well within the reach of current technology.
Original languageEnglish
Article number012312
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2001


  • beam splitting
  • photon splitting
  • optical elements
  • quantum
  • quantum physics
  • optics

Cite this

Barnett, S. M., Calsamiglia, J., & Lütkenhaus, N. (2001). Conditional beam-splitting attack on quantum key distribution. Physical Review A, 65(1), [012312].