In the diffraction-limited near-field propagation regime, free-space optical quantum key distribution (QKD) systems can employ multiple spatial modes to improve their key rate. This improvement can be effected by means of high-dimensional QKD or by spatial-mode multiplexing of independent QKD channels, with the latter, in general, offering higher key rates. Here, we theoretically analyze spatial-mode-multiplexed, decoy-state BB84 whose transmitter mode set is either a collection of phase-tilted, flat-top focused beams (FBs) or the Laguerre-Gaussian (LG) modes. Although for vacuum propagation the FBs suffer a QKD rate penalty relative to the LG modes, their potential ease of implementation make them an attractive alternative. Moreover, in the presence of turbulence, the FB modes may outperform the LG modes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics