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Design and packaging of a compact entangled-photon source for space quantum key distribution

: Bremner, D.; Lee, S.T.; Dorward, W.; Robertson, S.; Caspani, L.; Sorensen, S.; McKnight, L.


Clarkson, W. Andrew (Ed.) ; Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers -SPIE-, Bellingham/Wash.:
Solid State Lasers XXVIII. Technology and Devices : 5-7 February 2019, San Francisco, California, United States
Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 2019 (Proceedings of SPIE 10896)
ISBN: 978-1-5106-2434-4
ISBN: 978-1-5106-2435-1
Art. 108961J, 8 pp.
Conference "Solid State Lasers - Technology and Devices" <28, 2019, San Francisco/Calif.>
Industrial Laser, Laser Source and Laser Applications Conference (LASE) <2019, San Francisco/Calif.>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer CAP ()

Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) directly exploits the quantum phenomenon of entanglement to allow the secure sharing of a cryptographic key for information encoding. The current generation of QKD devices typically operate over dedicated and expensive private ‘dark fiber’ networks, where they are limited in transmission range to 200-300km due to the lack of quantum repeaters. This paper is concerned with an alternative approach that can lift this range limit by exploiting QKD over free-space links between satellites. Typically, commercial QKD systems rely on phase encoding of information on single photons, and more recently on continuously variable schemes with more powerful lasers. However, these protocols are not suitable for communications through atmosphere. On the other hand, QKD by polarization-entanglement holds great promise for satellite-based QKD encoded communications links if the entangledphoton source can be packaged in a compact, robust and commercially-viable form. This paper will describe the development and packaging of an entangled-photon source utilizing space-qualified telecoms packaging techniques, resulting in a compact device that targets satellite deployment. The key design choices that impact performance in a space environment will be discussed and the results of device characterization in the laboratory environment will be shared.