Due to the transfer of the angular spectrum of the pump beam to the two-photon state in spontaneous parametric downconversion, the generated twin photons are entangled in their spatial degrees of freedom. This spatial entanglement can be observed through correlation measurements in any set of modes in which one may choose to perform measurements. Choosing, e.g., a Hermite–Gaussian (HG) set of spatial modes as a basis, one can observe correlations present in their spatial degrees of freedom. In addition, these modes can be used as alphabets for quantum communication. For global quantum communication purposes, we derive an analytic expression for two-photon detection probability in terms of HG modes, taking into account the effects of the turbulent atmosphere. Our result is more general as it accounts for the propagation of both signal and idler photons through the atmosphere, as opposed to other works considering one photon’s propagation in vacuum. We show that while the restrictions on both the parity and order of the downconverted HG fields no longer hold, due to the crosstalk between modes when propagating in the atmosphere, the crosstalk is not uniform: there are more robust modes that tend to keep the photons in them. These modes can be employed in order to increase the fidelity of quantum communication.
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