Finite key effects in satellite quantum key distribution

Research output: Working paperWorking Paper/Preprint

32 Downloads (Pure)


Global quantum communications will enable long-distance secure data transfer, networked distributed quantum information processing, and other entanglement-enabled technologies. Satellite quantum communication overcomes optical fibre range limitations, with the first realisations of satellite quantum key distribution (SatQKD) being rapidly developed. However, limited transmission times between satellite and ground station severely constrains the amount of secret key due to finite-block size effects. Here, we analyse these effects and the implications for system design and operation, utilising published results from the Micius satellite to construct an empirically-derived channel and system model for a trusted-node downlink employing efficient BB84 weak coherent pulse decoy states with optimised parameters. We quantify practical SatQKD performance limits and examine the effects of link efficiency, background light, source quality, and overpass geometries to estimate long-term key generation capacity. Our results may guide design and analysis of future missions, and establish performance benchmarks for both sources and detectors.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationIthaca, N.Y.
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2021


  • quantum physics
  • quantum communications
  • quantum information and processing


Dive into the research topics of 'Finite key effects in satellite quantum key distribution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this