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Upper bounds on the secret-key-agreement capacity of a quantum channel serve as a way to assess the performance of practical quantum-key-distribution protocols conducted over that channel. In particular, if a protocol employs a quantum repeater, achieving secret-key rates exceeding these upper bounds is evidence of having a working quantum repeater. In this paper, we extend a recent advance [Liuzzo-Scorpo, Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 120503 (2017)PRLTAO0031-900710.1103/PhysRevLett.119.120503] in the theory of the teleportation simulation of single-mode phase-insensitive Gaussian channels such that it now applies to the relative entropy of entanglement measure. As a consequence of this extension, we find tighter upper bounds on the nonasymptotic secret-key-agreement capacity of the lossy thermal bosonic channel than were previously known. The lossy thermal bosonic channel serves as a more realistic model of communication than the pure-loss bosonic channel, because it can model the effects of eavesdropper tampering and imperfect detectors. An implication of our result is that the previously known upper bounds on the secret-key-agreement capacity of the thermal channel are too pessimistic for the practical finite-size regime in which the channel is used a finite number of times, and so it should now be somewhat easier to witness a working quantum repeater when using secret-key-agreement capacity upper bounds as a benchmark.

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Physical Review A