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The European Physical Journal D

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 599-627

First online:

Unconditional security of practical quantum key distribution

  • H. InamoriAffiliated withCentre for Quantum Computation, Clarendon Laboratory
  • , N. LütkenhausAffiliated withHelsinki Institute of Physics Email author 
  • , D. MayersAffiliated withComputer Science Department, Maharishi University of Management, NEC Research Institute

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We present a complete protocol for BB84 quantum key distribution for a realistic setting (noise, loss, multi-photon signals of the source) that covers many of todays experimental implementations. The security of this protocol is shown against an eavesdropper having unrestricted power to manipulate the signals coherently on their path from sender to receiver. The protocol and the security proof take into account the effects concerning the finite size of the generated key. This paper is identical to the preprint arXiv:quant-ph/0107017, which was finalized in 2001. Therefore, some of the more recent developments, including the question of composability, are not addressed.


03.67.Dd Quantum cryptography


21.20.Kd Quantum key distribution 22.70.+S Security proofs