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All-fiber self-compensating polarization encoder for Quantum Key Distribution
preprintposted on 2023-11-30, 18:01 authored by Costantino Agnesi, Marco Avesani, Andrea Stanco, Paolo Villoresi, Giuseppe Vallone
Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) allows distant parties to exchange cryptographic keys with unconditional security by encoding information on the degrees of freedom of photons. Polarization encoding has been extensively used in QKD implementations along free-space, optical fiber and satellite-based links. However, the polarization encoders used in such implementations are unstable, expensive, complex and can even exhibit side-channels that undermine the security of the implemented protocol. Here we propose a self-compensating polarization encoder based on a Lithium Niobate phase modulator inside a Sagnac interferometer and implement it using only standard telecommunication commercial off-the-shelves components (COTS). Our polarization encoder combines a simple design and high stability reaching an intrinsic quantum bit error rate as low as 0.2%. Since realization is possible from the 800 nm to the 1550 nm band by using COTS, our polarization modulator is a promising solution for free-space, fiber and satellite-based QKD.