All digital communication methods use cryptography to protect the confidentiality of information. Bárbara Amaral is a scientist committed to expanding digital privacy by developing new cryptographic methods. Her project pushes the boundaries of quantum physics further, which may reveal how cryptography can be made even more secure. After completing her degree in physics at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, she pursued her master’s and doctorate in mathematics at the same institution. At this stage, she conducted research at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Spain.
Born into a humble family in the countryside of Minas Gerais, her mother was a teacher passionate about the literacy process. Now a lecturer at the Physics Institute of the University of São Paulo, Amaral says she inherited her love of knowledge from her parents. Her project will also be conducted with professors Paulo Nussenzveig, Charles Tresser, and USP’s Quantum Foundations Group students.
In her spare time, she cycles, skates, and always walks with her two canine partners. She travels the world with her husband, barbecues, and hosts friends at home.
Cryptography is the study of techniques for secure communication that allow only the sender and receiver of a message to access its content. This knowledge allows us to use the internet confidently, whether for a Zoom video call or a bank transfer on our mobile phone. This is possible thanks to various security protocols that keep the system safe. Quantum cryptography is a field of quantum information science that uses the properties of quantum mechanics to develop secure communication techniques. It is one of the most well-known and well-developed areas of quantum information today. One of the greatest challenges in cryptography is a weakness that has plagued researchers in the field for years: bit compromise.
The aim of this project, which will be carried out in collaboration with Prof. Paulo Nussenzveig, Prof. Charles Tresser, and students from the Quantum Foundations Group at the University of São Paulo, is to understand how quantum cryptography can help in the development of new bit commitment protocols. If successful, this will be a major contribution to the field, not only for practical applications but also for understanding the limits of quantum cryptography and quantum information science, changing our perspective of what can and cannot be done with quantum systems.