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Frame Synchronization for Quantum Key Distribution Systems

Mantey , S. T. ; Ramos, M. F. ; Silva, N. A. ; Pinto, A. N. ; Muga, N. J.

Frame Synchronization for Quantum Key Distribution Systems, Proc IEEE Global Communications Conference - GLOBECOM, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Vol. , pp. - , December, 2022.

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In this work, a reliable and low computational complexity frame synchronization method for quantum key distribution (QKD) systems is proposed. The proposed method is based on the computation of the quantum bit error rate (QBER) and requires no more hardware than the one used for qubit coding and decoding. In a initial stage, pre-shared and received sequences are shifted until a minimum QBER value is reached. In a second stage, to confirm that the frames are correctly positioned, and to ensure that during key transmission a correct association of each received bit is made with the corresponding bit sent by the transmitter, a pre-determined number of inverted frames is sent, rising the QBER value to maximum values. As the number of inverted frames is a pre-agreed number, after detecting the first inverted frame it is possible to determine exactly when the secret key transmission will start. We use a polarization-encoding QKD testbed to assess the overall performance of the method. With the proposed frame synchronization method, the synchronization is achieved after roughly 10^4 clock cycles, despite the concerns imposed by the low probability detection inherent to the QKD systems.