5 October 2017 Modeling a space-based quantum link that includes an adaptive optics system
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Quantum Key Distribution uses optical pulses to generate shared random bit strings between two locations. If a high percentage of the optical pulses are comprised of single photons, then the statistical nature of light and information theory can be used to generate secure shared random bit strings which can then be converted to keys for encryption systems. When these keys are incorporated along with symmetric encryption techniques such as a one-time pad, then this method of key generation and encryption is resistant to future advances in quantum computing which will significantly degrade the effectiveness of current asymmetric key sharing techniques. This research first reviews the transition of Quantum Key Distribution free-space experiments from the laboratory environment to field experiments, and finally, ongoing space experiments. Next, a propagation model for an optical pulse from low-earth orbit to ground and the effects of turbulence on the transmitted optical pulse is described. An Adaptive Optics system is modeled to correct for the aberrations caused by the atmosphere. The long-term point spread function of the completed low-earth orbit to ground optical system is explored in the results section. Finally, the impact of this optical system and its point spread function on an overall quantum key distribution system as well as the future work necessary to show this impact is described.
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Alexander W. Duchane, Alexander W. Duchane, Douglas D. Hodson, Douglas D. Hodson, Logan O. Mailloux, Logan O. Mailloux, "Modeling a space-based quantum link that includes an adaptive optics system", Proc. SPIE 10442, Quantum Information Science and Technology III, 104420F (5 October 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2280373; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2280373

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