### Abstract

It has been widely recognized that the underlying principles of quantum mechanics could be used to enable secure communications, without any additional conventional cryptographic systems, while utilizing the properties of the photons. Considerable research efforts have been invested to develop an efficient quantum key distribution (QKD) scheme over either free-space optical or fiber-optics channels. Most of these research efforts have been focused on a two-dimensional QKD, commonly realized by the use of the polarization state of photons. However, the data rates for the quantum key exchange in two-dimensional QKD are still low, while transmission distance is limited. On the other hand, it is well known that photons can carry both the spin angular momentum (SAM) and the orbital angular momentum (OAM), associated with the polarization and azimuthal phase of the complex electric field, respectively. Accordingly, we can define the combined-OAM-SAM state of a photon as $\vert l, \sigma\rangle$, where $l$ and $\sigma$ correspond to OAM and SAM indexes, respectively. Since the OAM eigenstates are orthogonal, an arbitrary number of bits per single photon can be transmitted, which could considerably increase the total secure bit rate. To improve secure data rates, we propose two types of protocols, namely, nonentangled-based (such as weak coherent state) and entanglement-assisted protocols, both employing the photon combined-OAM-SAM state, which can be used for secure key distribution over free-space optical and few-mode fiber channels. Two types of entanglement-assisted protocols are described, namely, two-basis and $(D + 1)$-basis protocols ($D$ is dimensionality of corresponding Hilbert space). We further describe how to implement the qudit gates required for implementation of these protocols. Finally, we discuss the security issues of the proposed protocols and determine both infinite and finite secret key fraction rates.

Original language | English (US) |
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Article number | 6671930 |

Journal | IEEE Photonics Journal |

Volume | 5 |

Issue number | 6 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - Dec 1 2013 |

### Keywords

- Quantum information processing (QIP)
- low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes
- orbital angular momentum (OAM)
- quantum key distribution (QKD)
- quantum qudit gates
- spin angular momentum (SAM)

### ASJC Scopus subject areas

- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering