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Measurement-device-independent quantum key distribution with ensemble-based memories


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      Quantum memories are enabling devices for extending the reach of quantum key distribution (QKD) systems. The required specifications for memories are, however, often considered too demanding for available technologies. One can change this mindset by introducing memory-assisted measurement-device-independent QKD (MDI-QKD), which imposes less stringent conditions on the memory modules. It has been shown that, in the case of {\em fast} single-qubit memories, we can reach rates and distances not attainable by single no-memory QKD links. Single-qubit memories, such as single atoms or ions, have, currently, too slow of an access time to offer an advantage in practice. Here, we relax that assumption, and consider ensemble-based memories, which satisfy the main two requirements of having short access times and large storage-bandwidth products. Our results, however, suggest that the multiple-excitation effects in such memories can be so detrimental that they may wash away the scaling improvement offered by memory-equipped systems. We then propose an alternative setup that can in principle remedy the above problem. As a prelude to our main problem, we also obtain secret key generation rates for MDI-QKD systems that rely on imperfect single-photon sources with nonzero probabilities of emitting two photons.

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      IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, 21:6601010, May/June 2015

      Quantum physics & Field theory


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