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Fundamental limits of repeaterless quantum communications

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JournalNature Communications
DateAccepted/In press - 23 Feb 2017
DatePublished (current) - 26 Apr 2017
Volume8
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)1-15
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Quantum communications promises reliable transmission of quantum information, efficient distribution of entanglement and generation of completely secure keys. For all these tasks, we need to determine the optimal point-to-point rates that are achievable by two remote parties at the ends of a quantum channel, without restrictions on their local operations and classical communication, which can be unlimited and two-way. These two-way assisted capacities represent the ultimate rates that are reachable without quantum repeaters. Here, by constructing an upper bound based on the relative entropy of entanglement and devising a dimension-independent technique dubbed ‘teleportation stretching’, we establish these capacities for many fundamental channels, namely bosonic lossy channels, quantum-limited amplifiers, dephasing and erasure channels in arbitrary dimension. In particular, we exactly determine the fundamental rate-loss tradeoff affecting any protocol of quantum key distribution. Our findings set the limits of point-to-point quantum communications and provide precise and general benchmarks for quantum repeaters.

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© 2017, The Author(s).

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