Day 46 – Q 3. What is quantum key distribution technology? What can be its possible applications? Discuss. (15 Marks)

  • IASbaba
  • March 17, 2022
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GS 3, Sci & Technology, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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3. What is quantum key distribution technology? What can be its possible applications? Discuss. (15 Marks)

क्वांटम कुंजी वितरण तकनीक क्या है? इसके संभावित अनुप्रयोग क्या हो सकते हैं? चर्चा करें।


Candidates need to write about the quantum key distribution technology and discuss about its possible applications.


The concept of quantum key distribution (QKD) was first proposed in the 1970s. The idea was incredibly simple yet it still took until the 1990s, when the connection was made to entanglement, that physicists started to get really interested. Since then, the progress has been remarkable and it is now perhaps the most mature quantum technology, being commercially available for over 15 years now. 

Quantum key distribution technology

Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), also known as Quantum Cryptography, is a mechanism for developing secure communication. It enables the distribution and sharing of secret keys, which are necessary for cryptographic protocols. The conventional cryptosystems used for data-encryption rely on the complexity of mathematical algorithms, whereas the security offered by quantum communication is based on the laws of Physics.

Applications of quantum key distribution technology

  • The whole responsibility of QKD networks is to transfer keys between parties who wish to communicate securely.
  • QKD is essential to address the threat that rapid advancement in Quantum Computing poses to the security of the data being transported by various critical sectors through the current communication networks.
  • There will be applications where QKD is ideal – replacing trusted couriers, for example – and others where the benefits are not so clear – e.g., CNP and online banking, which need a huge quantum ATM infrastructure to allow it to work, but get added security as a result. Business decisions are never easy.
  • It is especially good at creating long random keys from a short input – key extension functionality which could be invaluable for OTPs.
  • The technology would be useful in enabling various start-ups and small and medium enterprises in the domain of quantum information.
  • It will enable security agencies to plan a suitable quantum communication network with indigenous technology backbone.


The power of start-ups and Big Tech corporations involved in developing quantum technology and applications must be harnessed. The focus should be to develop an overarching strategy for the next 10-15 years. The strategy must ensure that there is no misallocation of resources and that the efforts put in are concentrated in key areas that provide both economic and strategic benefits.


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