By Mustafa Gündoğan, Jasminder S. Sidhu, Victoria Henderson, Luca Mazzarella, Janik Wolters, Daniel K.L. Oi, Markus Krutzik.
Submitted to arXiv on 18 June 2020.
Global scale quantum communication links will form the backbone of the quantum internet. However, exponential loss in optical fibres precludes any realistic application beyond few hundred kilometres. Quantum repeaters and space-based systems offer to overcome this limitation. Here, we analyse the use of quantum memory (QM)-equipped satellites for quantum communication focussing on global range repeaters and Measurement-Device-Independent (MDI) QKD. We demonstrate that satellites equipped with QMs provide three orders of magnitude faster entanglement distribution rates than existing protocols based on fibre-based repeaters or space systems without QMs. We analyse how entanglement distribution performance depends on memory characteristics, determine benchmarks to assess performance of different tasks, and propose various architectures for light-matter interfaces. Our work provides a practical roadmap to realise unconditionally secure quantum communications over global distances with current technologies.