Feature Issue on Optical Wireless Communications (OWC)We investigate the design and the accommodation of a quantum communication transceiver in an existing classical optical communication terminal on board a satellite. Operation from a low earth orbit (LEO) platform (e.g., the International Space Station) would allow transmission of single photons and pairs of entangled photons to ground stations and hence permit quantum communication applications such as quantum cryptography on a global scale. Integration of a source generating entangled photon pairs and single-photon detection into existing optical terminal designs is feasible. Even more, major subunits of the classical terminals such as those for pointing, acquisition, and tracking as well as those providing the required electronic, thermal, and structural backbone can be adapted so as to meet the quantum communication terminal needs.
© 2005 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article