5 October 2017 Modeling satellite-Earth quantum channel downlinks with adaptive-optics coupling to single-mode fibers
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Abstract
The efficient coupling of photons from a free-space quantum channel into a single-mode optical fiber (SMF) has important implications to quantum network concepts involving SMF interfaces to quantum detectors, atomic systems, integrated photonics and direct coupling to a fiber network. Propagation through atmospheric turbulence however leads to wavefront errors that degrade mode-matching with SMFs. In a free-space quantum channel, this leads to photon losses in proportion to the severity of the aberration. This is particularly problematic for satellite-Earth quantum channels where atmospheric turbulence can lead to significant wavefront errors. This report considers propagation from a transmitter in low-Earth orbit to a terrestrial ground station and evaluates the efficiency with which photons couple either through a circular field stop or into a SMF situated in the focal plane of the optical receiver. The effects of atmospheric turbulence on the quantum channel are calculated numerically and quantified through the quantum bit error rate and secure key generation rates in a decoy-state BB84 protocol. Numerical simulations include the statistical nature of Kolmogorov turbulence, sky radiance, and an adaptive optics system under closed loop control.
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Mark T. Gruneisen, Michael B. Flanagan, Brett A. Sickmiller, "Modeling satellite-Earth quantum channel downlinks with adaptive-optics coupling to single-mode fibers", Proc. SPIE 10442, Quantum Information Science and Technology III, 104420E (5 October 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2282153; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2282153
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