We report on several experiments of single photon transmission from space to ground realized at the Matera Laser Ranging Observatory (MLRO) of the Italian Space Agency in Matera (Italy). We simulated a source of coherent pulses attenuated to the single photon level by exploiting laser ranging satellites equipped with corner-cube retroreﬂectors (CCRs). By such technique we report QC with qubits encoded in polarization from low-Earth-orbit (LEO) at distance up to 2500km from the ground station, achieving a low quantum bit error ratio (QBER) for diﬀerent satellites. The same technique is exploited to demonstrate single photon exchange with a medium-Earth-orbit (MEO) satellite, Lageos-2 at more than 7000 km of distance from the MLRO station. In both experiments the temporal jitter of the received counts is of the order of 1.2ns FWHM due to the intrinsic jitter of the single photon detectors. In order to improve the discrimination of signal from the background and reaching distances corresponding to GEO satellites, we improved the detection scheme by using fast single photon detectors with 40 ps FWHM jitter. We report improved single photon detection jitter from Beacon-C and Ajisai, obtaining 340 ps FWHM in the best case.
Giuseppe Vallone, Daniele Dequal, M. Tomasin, M. Schiavon, F. Vedovato, Davide Bacco, Simone Gaiarin, Giuseppe Bianco, Vincenza Luceri, and Paolo Villoresi, "Satellite quantum communication towards GEO distances," Proc. SPIE 9900, Quantum Optics, 99000J (Presented at SPIE Photonics Europe: April 06, 2016; Published: 29 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2228613.
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