Time-delayed single satellite quantum repeater node for global quantum communications

Mustafa Gündoǧan, Jasminder S. Sidhu, Markus Krutzik, Daniel K. L. Oi

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Global-scale quantum networking faces significant technical and scientific obstacles. Quantum repeaters (QRs) have been proposed to overcome the inherent direct transmission range limit through optical fiber. However, QRs are typically limited to a total distance of a few thousand kilometers and/or require extensive hardware overhead. Recent proposals suggest that strings of space-borne QRs with on-board quantum memories (QMs) are able to provide global coverage. Here, we propose an alternative to such repeater constellations using a single satellite with two QMs that effectively acts as a time-delayed version of a single QR node. By physically transporting stored qubits, our protocol improves long-distance entanglement distribution with reduced system complexity over previous proposals. We estimate the amount of secure key in the finite block regime and demonstrate an improvement of at least three orders of magnitude over prior single-satellite methods that rely on a single QM, while simultaneously reducing the necessary memory capacity similarly. We propose an experimental platform to realize this scheme based on rare-earth ion doped crystals with appropriate performance parameters. By exploiting recent advances in quantum memory lifetimes, we are able to significantly reduce system complexity while achieving high key rates, bringing global quantum networking closer to implementation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-147
Number of pages8
JournalOptica Quantum
Issue number3
Early online date1 May 2024
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2024


  • quantum networking
  • Quantum repeaters (QRs)
  • quantum memories (QMs)
  • rare-earth ion doped crystals


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