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Figure 1 | EPJ Quantum Technology

Figure 1

From: Q3Sat: quantum communications uplink to a 3U CubeSat—feasibility & design

Figure 1

The optical ground station (OGS) is connected either to one arm of a source of polarization entangled photon pairs (E91) or to a pulsed laser with randomly chosen polarization and mean photon number for each pulse (DSP). The signal photons are transmitted to the CubeSat in a 500 km low-earth orbit (LEO) via a free-space link. OGS and CubeSat point beacon lasers at each other for precise attitude control. The quantum signal is analyzed on board the CubeSat using a randomly switched half-wave plate (HWP) and a polarizing beam splitter (PBS). Measurement outcome, basis choice and time tag of each event are recorded. Information about the latter two is transmitted to the OGS using a classical radio frequency (RF) link. The OGS identifies the matching bits using a cross-correlation analysis (\(g^{(2)}\)) and tells the CubeSat which ones to use. Both disregard the other bits, perform post-processing and then share a secret key.

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