Abstract

Quantum key distribution (QKD) can generate secure key bits between remote users employing the features of quantum physics. However, a shared reference frame is necessary for QKD systems in most scenarios. A reference-frame-independent (RFI) scheme can tolerate the reference frame drifting between legitimate remote users, which is significant in the operation of relative moving terminals such as satellites and aircraft. We design and experimentally demonstrate an RFI-BB84-QKD system by joint encoding with the polarization and orbital angular momentum states of the photons. We use self-compensating fiber Sagnac interferometers to perform high-speed polarization modulation, and q-plates to passively manipulate the rotation-invariant photon states, which makes the system feasible for high-speed operation using off-the-shelf components.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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