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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Chaos for Encryption

"FUZZY INFORMATION. The top signal is an electronic version of the message. It's hidden within the chaotic signal (middle). The bottom signal is the recovered message."

An international team has encrypted a message over fiber optic lines with the help of chaos. The message is embedded in a light beam that "undergoes chaotic intensity fluctuations." At the receiver, the chaos is taken out to reveal the hidden message. This had been accomplished in a laboratory but not over this distance of 120-kilometers.

"In this new encryption strategy, a private message is converted into and travels as laser light. The information is hidden within a laser beam that undergoes chaotic intensity fluctuations. Such chaos-encrypted communication had already been mastered in laboratories. In the Nov. 17 Nature, an international team details how it sent such a message over 120 kilometers of fiber optics running throughout the city of Athens.

"The main achievement ... is the fact that the transmission has been made over a commercially installed fiber network," says Alan Shore of the University of Wales in Bangor. His team didn't have to modify the optical lines. It was quite a "nice surprise" to see that the team's lab setup translates well to a real-world setup, says Shore."

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