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Researchers create nodes with optical frames to encode information



Top view of the framed nodes generated in this work. Credit: University of Ottawa

First in the world, researchers at the University of Ottawa, in collaboration with Israeli scientists, have succeeded in creating laboratory units with optical frames that could potentially be applied in modern technology. Their work opens the door to new methods for distributing secret cryptographic keys ̵

1; used to encrypt and decrypt data, ensure secure communication and protect personal information. The group recently published its findings in Nature Communications.


“This is fundamentally important, especially in terms of focusing on topology, as the nodes in the framework provide a platform for topological quantum computing,” explained senior author Professor Ebrahim Karimi, a Canadian researcher in structured light at the University of Ottawa.

“In addition, we used these non-trivial optical structures as information carriers and developed a security protocol for classical communication, where the information is encrypted within these framework nodes.”

The concept

Researchers offer a simple do-it-yourself tutorial to help us better understand framed nodes, these three-dimensional objects that can also be described as surfaces.

“Take a narrow strip of paper and try to make a knot,” said first author Hugo LaRoque, a graduate of uOttawa and a current doctor of science. student at MIT.

“The resulting object is called a frame node and has many interesting and important mathematical characteristics.”

The group tried to achieve the same result, but within an optical beam, which represents a higher level of difficulty. After several attempts (and knots that looked more like tangled strings), the band came up with what they were looking for: a ribbon knot structure that is typical of framed knots.

Scheme for encryption of a framed braid in a frame node. The node together with a pair of numbers can be used to recover the encrypted braid using a procedure that relies on primary decomposition. Credit: University of Ottawa

“To add this band, our group relied on beam shaping techniques that manipulated the vector nature of light,” explained Hugo LaRoque. “By modifying the direction of oscillation of the light field on a ‘non-framed’ optical node, we were able to assign a frame to the latter by” gluing “together the lines outlined by these oscillating fields.”

According to researchers, structured light rays are widely used to encode and propagate information.

“Until now, these applications have been limited to physical quantities that can be recognized by observing the beam at a given position,” said Dr. Alessio D’Erico, a postdoctoral fellow and co-author of the study in Ottawa.

“Our work shows that the number of twists in the band orientation in relation to the factorization of prime numbers can be used to derive the so-called ‘representation of the braid’ of the node.”

“The structural characteristics of these objects can be used to determine quantum information processing programs,” added Hugo LaRoque. In a situation where this program would like to be kept secret while distributing it between different countries, one will need a means to encrypt this “braid” and later decrypt it. problem by proposing to use our optical framework node as an encryption object for these programs, which can later be recovered using the braid extraction method we also introduced. “

“For the first time, these complex three-dimensional structures have been used to develop new methods for distributing secret cryptographic keys. In addition, there is a wide and strong interest in the use of topological concepts in quantum computing, communication and non-scattering electronics. Nodes are also described with specific topological properties that have not previously been considered for cryptographic protocols. “

Transmission of the reconstructed structure to a frame three-leaf node generated in an optical beam. Credit: University of Ottawa

The origin

The idea behind the project emerged in 2018 during a discussion with Israeli researchers at a scientific meeting in Crete, Greece.

Scientists at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev University and Bar-Ilan, Israel, have developed a protocol for coding prime numbers.

The project then crossed the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean before entering Dr. Karimi’s laboratory at the University of Ottawa’s Advanced Research Complex. The experimental procedure was developed and carried out there. The obtained data were then analyzed and the structure of the braids was extracted by a specially developed program.

The applications

“Modern technology allows us to manipulate with high accuracy the various characteristics that characterize the light beam, such as intensity, phase, wavelength and polarization,” said Hugo LaRoque. “This allows information to be encoded and decoded using purely optical methods. Quantum and classical cryptographic protocols have been developed using these different degrees of freedom.”

“Our work paves the way for the use of more complex topological structures hidden in the propagation of a laser beam to propagate secret cryptographic keys.”

“In addition, the experimental and theoretical techniques we have developed can help find new experimental approaches to topological quantum computing that promise to transcend noise issues in modern quantum computing technologies,” added Dr. Ebrahim Karimi.

The report “Optical Frame Assemblies as Information Media” was recently published in Nature Communications.


Researchers are developing a new process for structuring quantum materials


More information:
Hugo Larocque et al, Optical frame nodes as data carriers, Nature Communications (2020). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-020-18792-z

Provided by the University of Ottawa

Quote: “Classified nodes”: Researchers create nodes with optical frameworks for coding information (2020, October 17), extracted on October 17, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-10-optical-encode .html

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