Secure quantum key distribution (QKD) is limited by the Earth’s horizon, weather, and turbulence in the atmosphere. We will outline the analysis, design, and early stages of our mobile small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) free-space optical quantum communication system. This reconfigurable, quantum-secure communication platform can potentially open up a novel communication layer that can avoid local weather interruptions as well as provide a substantial reduction in turbulence-related loss by transmitting above ground level. We review the design and testing of a custom cage-system mode analyzer to be implemented as the receiving optics module on a sUAS. The tests of our design, within predicted operational parameters, suggests that this is a feasible option for a mode analyzer on a light-weight mobile platform.
Alexandra DeCesare, Robert Snyder, Daniel Carvalho, Warner A. Miller, Paul M. Alsing, and Doyeol Ahn, "Toward mobile free-space optical QKD: characterization of a polarization-based receiver," Proc. SPIE 11391, Quantum Information Science, Sensing, and Computation XII, 1139105 (Presented at SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing: April 29, 2020; Published: 26 May 2020); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2567295.
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