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Satellite Relayed Global Quantum Communication without Quantum Memory

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posted on 2023-06-23, 16:00 authored by Sumit Goswami, Sayandip Dhara
Photon loss is the fundamental issue toward the development of quantum communication. We present a proposal to mitigate photon loss even at large distances and hence to create a global-scale quantum communication architecture. In this proposal, photons are sent directly through space, using a chain of co-moving low-earth orbit satellites. This satellite chain would bend the photons to move along the earth's curvature and control photon loss due to diffraction by effectively behaving like a set of lenses on an optical table. Numerical modeling of photon propagation through these "satellite lenses" shows that diffraction loss in entanglement distribution can be almost eliminated even at global distances of 20,000 km while considering beam truncation at each satellite and the effect of different errors. In the absence of diffraction loss, the effect of other losses (especially reflection loss) becomes important and they are investigated in detail. The total loss is estimated to be less than 30 dB at 20,000 km if other losses are constrained to 2% at each satellite, with 120 km satellite separation and 60 cm diameter satellite telescopes eliminating diffraction loss. Such low-loss satellite-based optical-relay protocol would enable robust, multi-mode global quantum communication and wouldn't require either quantum memories or repeater protocol. The protocol can also be the least lossy in almost all distance ranges available (200 - 20,000 km). Recent advances in space technologies may soon enable affordable launch facilities for such a satellite-relay network. We further introduce the "qubit transmission" protocol which has a plethora of advantages with both the photon source and the detector remaining on the ground. A specific lens setup was designed for the "qubit transmission" protocol which performed well in simulation that included atmospheric turbulence in the satellite uplink.



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