Free-space quantum key distribution to a moving receiver

Technological realities limit terrestrial quantum key distribution (QKD) to single-link distances of a few hundred kilometers. One promising avenue for global-scale quantum communication networks is to use low-Earth-orbit satellites. Here we report the first demonstration of QKD from a stationary transmitter to a receiver platform traveling at an angular speed equivalent to a 600 km altitude satellite, located on a moving truck. We overcome the challenges of actively correcting beam pointing, photon polarization and time-of-flight. Our system generates an asymptotic secure key at 40 bits/s.

Jean-Philippe Bourgoin, Brendon L. Higgins; Nikolay Gigov, Catherine Holloway, Christopher J. Pugh, Sarah Kaiser, Miles Cranmer, Thomas Jennewein