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Quantum Dots Detector Unveiled at CLEO
May 2000
CAMBRIDGE, England, May 11 - Scientists at Toshiba Research Europe Ltd. have come up with a device capable of seeing individual photons. According to Toshiba's researchers, detection of the otherwise invisible units of light will make it more difficult for hackers to go undetected in cyberspace. The new product is being unveiled this week at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics in San Francisco.
Advances in semiconductor nano-technology are creating devices with exciting new functionalities. The fact that a transistor containing quantum dots can detect individual photons is significant, because such a structure is likely to have several important advantages over conventional detectors, stated Dr. Andrew Shields, team-leader of the research project.
In the field of quantum communication information is encoded at the single photon level. With the application of the photon detector, users can clearly tell whether or not someone is tampering with their communication. According to the researchers a single proton cannot be measured without noticeably altering its properties; therefore it is physically impossible for a hacker to intercept a communication between two people without it being noticed.
Hypothetically, two parties on an open network could create a code that would ensure data that is sent between them be kept secret. It is hoped that these types of codes can be used to protect sensitive information that is sent over open networks, such as e-commerce, and government and healthcare information.

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