Gauthier & Kim Win MURI Competition

Monday, June 3, 2013

On May 31, 2013, the Department of Defense announced the winners of the annual Multi-disciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) competition. The project, entitled "Fundamental research on wavelength-agile high-rate quantum key distribution (QKD) in a marine environment," was selected for funding by the Office of Naval Research.  This project is lead by Prof. Paul Kwiat from the University of Illinois - Urbanna-Champaign and includes researchers from the University of Arizona and Boston University, as well as Profs. Daniel Gauthier and Jungsang Kim of Duke Physics and Electrical and Computer Engineering respectively. The Duke efforts will focus on the development of a full quantum key distribution (QKD) system to achieve secure communication of a random string of bits that can be used as a cryptographic key for encoding and decoding plain-text messages. Their system will use weak pulses of light generated by a laser for distributing the key, and the properties of quantum mechanics to prevent an eavesdropper attack. In the later stages of the project, the system will be brought to the Duke University Marine lab where its capability for secure communication in free space over the sea will be assessed. Also, the Duke team will develop a new class of detectors that are capable of sensing single-photons over a broad range of wavelengths and with high efficiency. The project will last over a five-year period. The purpose of the MURI program is to support teams of researchers from the sciences and engineering that straddle traditional disciplinary boundaries and provides sustained support at a level beyond that typical of single-investigator grants and for a longer period, with a focus on graduate student training and infrastructure development.