According to the press release, single photons were employed to produce secure random numbers that served as cryptographic keys between users. These random numbers were used to authenticate and encrypt the grid control data and commands. The scientists stated that electric grids require "novel methods" to "accommodate new energy sources such as renewables whose availability can fluctuate."
According to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Quantum cryptography also allows energy providers to detect and "defeat an adversary" who may be trying to disrupt energy supply. The technology is largely based on a newly developed miniaturized QC transmitter that supports strong security assurances with low latencies (120 microseconds for a 25 km distance). The scientists said that their system could be deployed with only a single optical fiber to carry the quantum, single-photon communications signals; data packets; and commands.
The research team stated that it is currently seeking funding to develop a next-generation transmitter that is smaller and better suited for mass-production.