Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Optical fibre: secure in all the chaos

21.01.2008
Secure messages hidden in chaotic waveforms, transmitted at up to 10 gigabits per second, is the vision behind a group of dedicated European researchers. Now they are prototyping the equipment that could make the vision a reality.

Hiding a message within a chaotic transmission offers a way of securing information exchange – provided the message can be distinguished from the chaos by the receiver.

Two years ago, members of OCCULT, a European research project, showed that messages could be sent at gigabit per second rates over 100km of the standard fibre-optic network of the city of Athens, using a chaotic mix of light frequencies with massive variation in amplitudes.

And the message was received with low bit error rates. Yet, anyone tapping into the fibre-optic cable, attempting to intercept the message without highly specialised knowledge and equipment, would have been unable to distinguish it from the chaotic light ‘noise’ that surrounded it.

Now researchers in a follow-on project (Photonic Integrated Components Applied to Secure chaoS encoded Optical communications systems – PICASSO) that is also funded by the European Commission are designing and testing two integrated and stable chaotic sources. In effect, these are the first prototypes for a kit that will allow chaotic transmissions to be used as a standard security measure by organisations, such as banks and governments.

They are also researching techniques that will enable chaotic transmissions to be made and received at tens of gigabits per second.

Synchronisation delivers communication
The key to sending signals using chaotic light sources is synchronisation. Chaotic systems are unpredictable because they are affected by many – often millions – of tiny events. The potential effect on the weather of the beat of a butterfly’s wing is the most famous example of this.

But the fact that they are not predictable does not mean that they are random. In fact, the little events are interdependent and generate discernible patterns in the chaos. A couple of decades ago it was discovered that if, under the right conditions, two chaotic systems start to affect each other, they will synchronise their chaotic motions.

Laboratory experiments soon confirmed that lasers transmitting light in patterns that were chaotic in time and space would synchronise when they received light from one another through space or optical fibre.

The next step was to ‘fold’ a message into the chaotic waveform. The receiver is able to discern the message by subtracting the (synchronised) chaotic waveform he is generating from the chaotic waveform, plus message, that he is receiving.

The OCCULT team (Optical chaos Communications Using Laser-Diodes Transmitters) took the principles of synchronised chaotic transmissions out into the real world. While the signal transmitted over the Athens network was less than one second long, it proved that the technique worked.

Stable chaotic sources
PICASSO’s first challenge was to build integrated devices incorporating laser diodes that were capable of acting as stable chaotic sources. They have come up with two devices. The first is a single chip about 1cm in length which is being prototyped in a Berlin laboratory. The second is a hybrid device about 15cm long consisting of a laser and a small piece of fibre, using an oil coating to maintain temperature and feedback strength.

“We expect both to work well quite soon,” says Claudio Mirasso, project coordinator on the OCCULT project and a member of the PICASSO team.

Consistency is a key goal for the mechanical parts. Sending longer signals is dependent on maintaining synchronisation between the two chaotic light sources for long periods, enabling data transmission at 10 gigabits per second.

“One of the main problems could be temperature,” says Mirasso. “Changes in temperature lead to deviations in wavelength and you can lose synchronisation easily. We are working on mechanisms that could offer better stabilisation, but at this stage we don’t know how much our new devices will drift with temperature.”

During a second phase of PICASSO, the research team will investigate increasing the rate of transmission using wavelength division multiplexing, where a number of signals are transmitted together at clearly separated wavelengths.

“You have to define the width of the channels very well,” comments Mirasso. “But in many ways it is not very different from normal wavelength division multiplexing. Perhaps ten or more channels would be possible.”

The security offered by chaotic waveforms does not match the complete security of quantum cryptography. But the rate of transmission is far higher – a security protection in itself. And attempts to break into the optical fibre and interpret the signal would be extremely difficult – if not impossible at the moment.

Christian Nielsen | alfa
Further information:
http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/BrowsingType/Features/ID/89434

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Deep Learning predicts hematopoietic stem cell development
21.02.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Sensors embedded in sports equipment could provide real-time analytics to your smartphone
16.02.2017 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>