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Exclusion zone analysis on secret key distillation over a realistic satellite-to-satellite free-space channel

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Abstract

Quantum cryptography is the study of unconditional information security against an all-powerful eavesdropper in secret key distillation. However, the assumption of an omnipotent eavesdropper is too strict for some realistic implementations. In this paper, we study the realistic application model of secret key distillation over a satellite-to-satellite free-space channel in which we impose a reasonable restriction on the eavesdropper by setting an exclusion zone around the legitimate receiver as a defense strategy. We first study the case where the eavesdropper’s aperture size is unlimited so their power is only restricted by the exclusion zone. Then, we limit Eve’s aperture to a finite size and study the straightforward case when her aperture is in the same plane of Bob’s, investigating how an exclusion zone can help improve security. Correspondingly, we determine the secret key rate lower bounds as well as upper bounds. Furthermore, we also apply our results on specific discrete variable (DV) and continuous variable (CV) protocols for comparison. We show that, by putting reasonable restrictions on the eavesdropper through the realistic assumptions of an inaccessible exclusion zone, we can significantly increase the key rate in comparison to those without and do so with relatively lower transmission frequency. We conclude that this model is suitable for extended analysis in many light-gathering scenarios and for different carrier wavelengths.

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