Castillo A. T. & Donaldson R. “Time-division technique for quantum optical receivers utilizing single-photon detector array technology and spatial-multiplexing”. Opt. Express 30, 44365-44374 (2022) DOI: 10.1364/OE.470364
Free-space quantum key distribution (QKD) has been gaining popularity in recent years due to its advantages in creating networking options for the quantum internet. One of the main challenges to be addressed in QKD is the achievable secret key rate, which must meet current and future demand. Some of the existing solutions include the use of higher bandwidth electronics, untrusted relay architectures such as Twin-Field QKD, or high dimensional QKD. In this work, we proposed the use of a combination of spatial-multiplexing and time-division techniques, together with the use of 2D single-photon avalanche diode arrays to increase the final throughput. The main challenge in a free-space scenario is the effects introduced by turbulence. This paper demonstrates how appropriate time-division of the spatial-modes can reduce the quantum bit error rate due to optical crosstalk from 36% to 0%. With this technique, we believe the future need for superconducting nanowires single photon detectors, in some free-space QKD applications, can be relaxed, obtaining more cost-effective receiver systems.