Free-Space and Atmospheric Quantum Communications

Report No. ARL-RP-0617
Authors: RE Meyers, KS Deacon, AD Tunick
Date/Pages: September 2017; 50 pages
Abstract: The quantum internet with free-space and atmospheric quantum channels is becoming a reality. Emerging from the early ideas of Feynman and his colleagues, quantum information science (QIS) technologies are under development around the world to construct the quantum internet. Destined to fulfill capabilities well beyond our current imagination, the quantum internet is being shaped by both the laws of quantum physics and the compelling needs for increased speed, bandwidth, and cybersecurity. Free-space and atmospheric quantum communications will play a critical role in extending the quantum internet to global use. Quantum information will be teleported through mobile information teleportation networks that necessarily will include satellites. Recent developments in quantum physics have the potential to add to free-space and atmospheric communications, a physical layer of quantum security, increased bandwidth, and speed beyond classical communications capabilities. Achieving a quantum communications internet with distributed quantum computing capabilities will first require research involving theory, experiments, and the development of proof-of-principle physics and engineering systems. This chapter introduces the reader to free-space quantum communications by providing both a review of the fundamental foundations of quantum communications as applied to free-space and the atmosphere and a review of representative freespace and atmospheric quantum communications experiments.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2017