Satellite quantum key distribution performance analysis and optimization with finite key size constraints

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book


Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is a potential mitigation against quantum computation advances that threaten currently deployed public key cryptosystems. QKD is also a precursor to large-scale quantum communications and the quantum internet. Terrestrial direct transmission of quantum photonic signals is restricted by optical fibre exponential absorption, hence space-based systems have been proposed for intercontinental distribution of quantum keys with lower-loss free-space transmission through vacuum. However, challenges remain for the practical deployment of satellite QKD (SatQKD) such as weather, background light, and terminal deployment. In particular, the short transmission time inherent in low Earth orbit satellite QKD and finite statistical uncertainty can limit secure key generation. Here we illustrate the analysis of these effects and some practical engineering design and operational constraints on key length using the Satellite Quantum Modelling and Analysis (SatQuMA) software package being developed for satellite quantum communications research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the SPIE Quantum Computing, Communication, and Simulation III
EditorsPhilip R. Hemmer, Alan L. Migdall
Place of PublicationBellingham
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2023


  • quantum modeling
  • satellite communications
  • systems modelling
  • quantum bit errors


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