Towards free-space quantum key distribution with a 2D single-photon sensor

Alfonso Tello Castillo, Ross J. Donaldson

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

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Applications of quantum key distribution are becoming more diverse due to the increase in interest in the secure key sharing protocol. Transmission through free-space channels has risen in popularity in recent years, primarily due to global coverage using satellite platforms. However, free-space channels come with challenges that need to be addressed, such as; diffraction loss, background noise, pointing-and-tracking, and atmospheric aberration. Novel design and use of state-of-the-art detector technologies in quantum receivers can help alleviate these difficulties. This paper presents and discusses the implementation of 2D single-photon sensor technology for free-space quantum key distribution. We present an experimental method that utilizes independent single-photon avalanche diode pixel read-out to reduce background noise contributions while simultaneously increasing optical field-of-view. Finally, we show and discuss single-photon level beaconing capabilities for pointing and tracking.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQuantum Technology: Driving Commercialisation of an Enabling Science II
EditorsMiles J. Padgett, Kai Bongs, Alessandro Fedrizzi, Alberto Politi
ISBN (Electronic)9781510646063
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2021
EventSPIE Photonex 2021 - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Sept 202130 Sept 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceSPIE Photonex 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • detector array
  • free-space quantum key distribution
  • quantum communications
  • single-photon detector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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