Simulating Satellite Quantum Communication Channels

Máté Galambos*(1), László Bacsárdi (2), András Kiss (3)

(1) Dennis Gabor College, Hungary
(2) Department of Networked Systems and Services, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary
(3) Institute of Informatics and Economics, University of Sopron, Hungary

Abstract: Satellite quantum communication can bridge significantly longer distances than its optical cable based counterpart. This means that satellite quantum channels make it possible to distribute extremely weak light signals (such as single photons or pairs of entangled photons) on a global scale. Notable applications of this type of communication are intercontinental quantum cryptography and large scale experiments, which can disprove certain theories of quantum gravity.
In this work we examine theoretical models for such satellite quantum channels. We assume the quantum signals to behave similarly to classical light signals where the probability density of finding a single photon at the detector’s plane is proportional to the irradiance assuming a Gaussian beam. We take into account atmospheric effects such as optical turbulence induced beam widening, the extinction caused by aerosols and atmospheric gases, and other losses and inefficiencies that come from either the setup or the environment such as background noise or detector efficiency.

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