Post-processing for quantum key distribution - Xiongfeng Ma

Quantum key distribution (QKD) promises unconditionally secure key generation between two distant parties by wisely exploiting properties of quantum mechanics. In QKD, experimental measurements on quantum states are transformed to a secret key and this has to be done in accordance with a security proof. Unfortunately, many theoretical proofs are not readily implementable in experiments and do not consider all practical issues. Therefore, in order to bridge this "practical gap", we integrate a few existing theoretical results together with new developments, in effect producing a simple and complete recipe for classical post-processing that one can follow to derive a secret key from the measurement outcomes in an actual QKD experiment. This integration is non-trivial and our consideration is both practical and comprehensive in the sense that we take into account the finiteness of the key length and consider the effects on security of several essential primitives (including authentication, error handling, and privacy amplification). Furthermore, we quantify the security of the final secret key that is universally composable. We show that the main contribution of the finite-size effect comes from phase error estimation.