Abstract

Quantum key distribution provides unconditional security for communication. Unfortunately, current experimental schemes are not suitable for long-distance fiber transmission because of phase drift or Rayleigh backscattering. In this Letter we present a unidirectional intrinsically stable scheme that is based on Michelson–Faraday interferometers, in which ordinary mirrors are replaced with 90° Faraday mirrors. With the scheme, a demonstration setup was built and excellent stability of interference fringe visibility was achieved over a fiber length of 175km. Through a 125km long commercial communication fiber cable between Beijing and Tianjin, the key exchange was performed with a quantum bit-error rate of less than 6%, which is to our knowledge the longest reported quantum key distribution experiment under field conditions.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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