Brougham T, Oi DKL. “Modelling efficient BB84 with applications for medium-range, terrestrial free-space QKD”, in New Journal of Physics (accepted manuscript), online 7 July 2022. doi: 10.1088/1367-2630/ac7f4e
Terrestrial free-space quantum key distribution is ideally suited for deployment in dense urban environments. The transition from laboratory to commercial deployment, however, raises a number of important engineering and deployment issues. Here, we investigate these issues for efficient BB84 using a weak coherent pulse-decoy state protocol. We calculate expected key lengths for different environmental conditions and when the scope for optimisation of protocol parameters is restricted due to practical considerations. In particular, we find that for a fixed receiver basis choice probability, it can be advantageous to allow the transmitter to have a different basis choice probability depending on varying channel loss and background light levels. Finally, we examine the effects of pulse intensity uncertainty finding that they can dramatically reduce the key length. These results can be used to determine the loss budget for the free-space optics of a QKD systems and assist in their design.