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International Journal of Optics
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 254154, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/254154
Research Article

Polarization-Basis Tracking Scheme in Satellite Quantum Key Distribution

1Space Communications Group, New Generation Wireless Communications Research Center, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), 4-2-1 Nukui-Kita, Koganei, Tokyo 184-8795, Japan
2Quantum ICT Group, New Generation Network Communications Research Center, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), 4-2-1 Nukui-Kita, Koganei, Tokyo 184-8795, Japan

Received 8 January 2011; Revised 7 March 2011; Accepted 6 April 2011

Academic Editor: Ivan Djordjevic

Copyright © 2011 Morio Toyoshima et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Satellite quantum key distribution is a promising technique that overcomes the limited transmission distance in optical-fiber-based systems. The polarization tracking technique is one of the key techniques in the satellite quantum key distribution. With free-space quantum key distribution between an optical ground station and a satellite, the photon polarization state will be changed according to the satellite movement. To enable polarization based quantum key distribution between mobile terminals, we developed a polarization-basis tracking scheme allowing a common frame of reference to be shared. It is possible to orient two platforms along a common axis by detecting the reference optical signal only on the receiver side with no prior information about the transmitter's orientation. We developed a prototype system for free-space quantum key distribution with the polarization-basis tracking scheme. Polarization tracking performance was 0.092° by conducting quantum key distribution experiments over a 1 km free space between two buildings in a Tokyo suburb.