Abstract

The current literature on quantum key distribution is limited mainly to transmissions over fiber optic, atmospheric, or satellite links and is not directly applicable to underwater environments with different channel characteristics. In this paper, we analyze the quantum bit error rate (QBER) and secret key rate (SKR) performance of the well-known BB84 protocol in underwater channels. As a path loss model, we consider a modified version of the Beer–Lambert formula, which takes into account the effect of scattering. We derive a closed-form expression for the wave structure function to determine the average power transfer over a turbulent underwater path and use this to obtain an upper bound on QBER as well as a lower bound on SKR. Based on the derived bounds, we present the performance of the BB84 protocol in different water types including clear, coastal, and turbid and under different atmospheric conditions such as clear, hazy, and overcast. We further investigate the effect of system parameters such as aperture size and detector field of view on QBER and SKR performance metrics.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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