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Journal Articles npj Quantum Information Year : 2021

Feasibility of satellite-to-ground continuous-variable quantum key distribution


Establishing secure communication links at a global scale is a major potential application of quantum information science but also extremely challenging for the underlying technology. While milestone experiments using satellite-to-ground links and exploiting singe-photon encoding for implementing quantum key distribution have shown recently that this goal is achievable, it is still necessary to further investigate practical solutions compatible with classical optical communication systems. Here we examine the feasibility of establishing secret keys in a satellite-to-ground downlink configuration using continuous-variable encoding, which can be implemented using standard telecommunication components certified for space environment and able to operate at high symbol rates. Considering a realistic channel model and state-of-the-art technology, and exploiting an orbit subdivision technique for mitigating fluctuations in the transmission efficiency, we find positive secret key rates for a low-Earth-orbit scenario, while finite-size effects can be a limiting factor for higher orbits. Our analysis determines regions of values for important experimental parameters where secret key exchange is possible and can be used as a guideline for experimental efforts in this direction.

Dates and versions

hal-03093471 , version 1 (03-01-2021)



Daniele Dequal, Luis Trigo Vidarte, Victor Roman Rodriguez, Giuseppe Vallone, Paolo Villoresi, et al.. Feasibility of satellite-to-ground continuous-variable quantum key distribution. npj Quantum Information, 2021, 7 (1), pp.10. ⟨10.1038/s41534-020-00336-4⟩. ⟨hal-03093471⟩
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