When using quantum key distribution (QKD), one of the trade-offs for security is that the generation rate of a secret key is typically very low. Recent works have shown that using a weak coherent source allows for higher secret key generation rates compared to an entangled photon source, when a channel with low loss is considered. In most cases, the system that is being studied is over a fiber-optic communication channel. Here a theoretical QKD system using the BB92 protocol and entangled photons over a free-space maritime channel with multiple spatial modes is presented. The entangled photons are generated from a spontaneous parametric down conversion (SPDC) source of type II. To employ multiple spatial modes, the transmit apparatus will contain multiple SPDC sources, all driven by the pump lasers assumed to have the same intensity. The receive apparatuses will contain avalanche photo diodes (APD), modeled based on the NuCrypt CPDS-1000 detector, and located at the focal point of the receive aperture lens. The transmitter is assumed to be located at Alice and Bob will be located 30 km away, implying no channel crosstalk will be introduced in the measurements at Alice’s side due to turbulence. To help mitigate the effects of atmospheric turbulence, adaptive optics will be considered at the transmitter and the receiver. An eavesdropper, Eve, is located 15 km from Alice and has no control over the devices at Alice or Bob. Eve is performing the intercept resend attack and listening to the communication over the public channel. Additionally, it is assumed that Eve can correct any aberrations caused by the atmospheric turbulence to determine which source the photon was transmitted from. One, four and nine spatial modes are considered with and without applying adaptive optics and compared to one another.
We have developed a comprehensive simulator to study the polarization entangled quantum key distribution (QKD) system, which takes various imperfections into account. We assume that a type-II SPDC source using a PPLN-based nonlinear optical waveguide is used to generate entangled photon pairs and implements the BB84 protocol, using two mutually unbiased basis with two orthogonal polarizations in each basis. The entangled photon pairs are then simulated to be transmitted to both parties; Alice and Bob, through the optical channel, imperfect optical elements and onto the imperfect detector. It is assumed that Eve has no control over the detectors, and can only gain information from the public channel and the intercept resend attack. The secure key rate (SKR) is calculated using an upper bound and by using actual code rates of LDPC codes implementable in FPGA hardware. After the verification of the simulation results, such as the pair generation rate and the number of error due to multiple pairs, for the ideal scenario, available in the literature, we then introduce various imperfections. Then, the results are compared to previously reported experimental results where a BBO nonlinear crystal is used, and the improvements in SKRs are determined for when a PPLN-waveguide is used instead.