Reference-frame-independent quantum key distribution
We describe a quantum key distribution protocol based on pairs of entangled qubits that generates a secure key between two partners in an environment of unknown and slowly varying reference frame. A direction of particle delivery is required, but the phases between the computational basis states need not be known or fixed. The protocol can simplify the operation of existing setups and has immediate applications to emerging scenarios such as earth-to-satellite links and the use of integrated photonic waveguides. We compute the asymptotic secret key rate for a two-qubit source, which coincides with the rate of the six-state protocol for white noise. We give the generalization of the protocol to higher-dimensional systems and detail a scheme for physical implementation in the three-dimensional qutrit case.