August 19, 2018
Naveed Mahmud, Esam El-Araby, Harry Shaw, La Vida Cooper

Free-Space Optical (FSO) communication provides very large bandwidth, relatively low cost, low power, low mass of implementation, and improved security when compared to conventional Free-Space Radio-Frequency (FSRF) systems. In this paper, we demonstrate a communication protocol that demonstrates improved security and longer-range FSO communication, compared to existing FSO security techniques, such as N-slit interferometers. The protocol integrates chaotic communications with Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) techniques. A Lorenz chaotic system, which is inherently secure and auto-synchronized, is utilized for secure data communications over a classical channel, while QKD is used to exchange crucial chaotic system parameters over a secure quantum channel. We also provide a concept of operations for a NASA mission combining chaotic communications and QKD operating synergistically in an end-to-end space communications link. The experimental simulation results and analysis are favorable towards our approach.