Long Distance, Top Secret Messages


Lyndsay Meyer
The Optical Society

Jason Bardi
American Institute of Physics

Long Distance, Top Secret Messages

Critical Component of Quantum Communication Device May Enable Cryptography

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 – When the military needs to send the key to encrypted data across the world, it can't necessarily rely on today's communication lines, where the message could be covertly intercepted. But physicists at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta are developing a new, more secure way to send such information across far distances, using existing cables and the laws of quantum mechanics.

Alex Kuzmich and colleagues have built a critical component of a quantum repeater, a device that allows quantum communications -- such as the encryption keys used to encode data transmitted over traditional lines -- to be relayed over larger distances. They will describe this device at the Optical Society’s (OSA) 94th annual meeting, Frontiers in Optics (FiO) 2010, at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center in Rochester, N.Y., from Oct. 24-28.

Quantum cryptography is an emerging technology currently used by both military and financial organizations to send information as entangled particles of light. In theory, anyone who tries to tap into this information changes it in a way that reveals their presence.

A quantum repeater is similar to a transformer on a traditional power line.  Instead of converting electricity, it regenerates a communication signal to prevent it from degrading over distance. It contains two banks of memory, one to receive an entangled message and a second line to copy it.

Previously, the longest distance over which an encrypted key could be sent was approximately 100 kilometers. The new technology developed by the Georgia Tech team increases 30-fold the amount of time the memory can hold information, which means that series of these devices -- arrayed like Christmas lights on a string -- could reach distances in excess of 1,000 kilometers.

"This is another significant step toward improving quantum information systems based on neutral atoms. For quantum repeaters, most of the basic steps have now been made, but achieving the final benchmarks required for an operating system will require intensive optical engineering efforts," says Kuzmich.

Their device also converts the photons used in quantum devices from an infrared wavelength of 795 nm to a wavelength of 1,367 nm.  This wavelength is used in traditional telecommunications lines, so the new device could someday plug into existing fiber optic cables.

"In order to preserve the quantum entanglement, we perform conversion at very high efficiency and with low noise," says Alexander Radnaev, who also works on this project at Georgia Tech.

The talk, "Quantum Correlations Between Telecom Light and Memory" is at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 27.

About the Meeting
Frontiers in Optics 2010 is OSA’s 94th Annual Meeting and is being held together with Laser Science XXVI, the annual meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Laser Science (DLS). The two meetings unite the OSA and APS communities for five days of quality, cutting-edge presentations, fascinating invited speakers and a variety of special events spanning a broad range of topics in physics, biology and chemistry. FiO 2010 will also offer a number of Short Courses designed to increase participants’ knowledge of a specific subject while offering the experience of insightful teachers. An exhibit floor featuring leading optics companies will further enhance the meeting.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: A Press Room for credentialed press and analysts will be located in Aqueduct AB of the Rochester Riverside Convention Center, Sunday through Thursday. Those interested in obtaining a press badge for FiO should contact OSA's Lyndsay Meyer at +1 202.416.1435 or lmeyer@osa.org.

About OSA
Uniting more than 106,000 professionals from 134 countries, the Optical Society (OSA) brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. Since 1916 OSA has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to the scientists, engineers and business leaders who work in the field by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics. For more information, visit www.osa.org.




Highlights and Insights into the Future of Optics and Photonics

From fiber optics and telecommunications to medical imaging and cancer research, optics and photonics are advancing today’s critical technologies. These technologies are prevalent in almost every aspect of day-to-day life. The optics and photonics industry is forecasted to grow due to the wide range of application in lighting, displays, consumer imaging, vision correction and optical communications. This presentation will review the outlook for key optics and photonics industry sectors and upcoming market opportunities. It will provide a quantitative look at the present performance and trends, as well as examples of where to find industry growth longer term.

Added: 20 Oct 2017

Optical Communications Innovators to Deliver Keynote Presentations at OFC 2018

The Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition (OFC), the world’s leading conference and exhibition for optical communications and networking professionals, is pleased to announce the outstanding lineup of keynote speakers for OFC 2018. Marcus Weldon, Nokia Bell Labs, USA, John C. Doyle, California Institute of Technology (CalTech), USA, and Chengliang Zhang, China Telecom, China, will take the stage to discuss future innovations in optics-based communication technologies.

Added: 19 Oct 2017

David J. Wineland and Amnon Yariv Named 2017 Honorary Members of The Optical Society

The Optical Society (OSA) is pleased to name the recently elected, 2017 Honorary Members. The recipients are David Jeffrey Wineland, 2012 Physics Nobel Laureate, University of Oregon, USA, and Amnon Yariv, California Institute of Technology (CalTech), USA. The 2017 Honorable Members were approved unanimously by the OSA Board of Directors. Honorary Membership is the most distinguished of all OSA Member categories and is awarded to individuals who have made unique, seminal contributions to the field of optics.

Added: 18 Oct 2017

New Imaging Approach Maps Whole-Brain Changes from Alzheimer’s Disease in Mice

An estimated 5.5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease, a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Although treatments can slow the worsening of symptoms, scientists are still working to better understand the neurodegenerative disease so that curative and preventative medicines can be developed. A new imaging system could help speed new drug development by offering a better way to monitor the brain changes indicative of Alzheimer’s in mouse models of the disease.

Added: 17 Oct 2017

Optical Systems Capture First Ever Detection of Gravitational Waves from a Pair of Colliding Neutron

For many decades astronomers relied on light for their observations of astronomical objects. Today, a team of scientists from the international LIGO (LSC) and Virgo Collaborations (VC) announced the detection of a bright spark of two neutron stars colliding, shedding light on the previously unknown origins of some of the universe's heavy elements. The 17 August event, named GW170817, was detected for more than a minute and a half and covered the full acoustic frequency range sampled by the research team.

Added: 16 Oct 2017

The Optical Society Announces 2018 Fellows Class

The Optical Society (OSA) Board of Directors is pleased to announce that 101 OSA members, representing 19 countries, have been elected to the 2018 OSA Fellows Class. Fellows are selected based on several factors, including specific scientific, engineering, and technological contributions, technical or industry leadership in the field as well as service to OSA and the global optics community.

Added: 13 Oct 2017

In a first for wearable optics, researchers develop stretchy fiber to capture body motion

The exciting applications of wearable sensors have sparked a tremendous amount of research and business investment in recent years. Sensors attached to the body or integrated into clothing could allow athletes and physical therapists to monitor their progress, provide a more detailed level of motion capture for computer games or animation, help engineers build robots with a lighter touch or form the basis for new types of real-time health monitors.

Added: 12 Oct 2017

Freeze Frame Microscopy for 3D Biological Images Captures 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

“The Nobel Committee’s recognition of yet another type of biomedical imaging underscores just how important, and enabling imaging and microscopy techniques are to all areas of science and medicine,” stated Elizabeth M.C. Hillman, professor of Biomedical Engineering at Radiology, Columbia University, and general chair of the upcoming 2018 OSA BioPhotonics Congress.

Added: 04 Oct 2017

Unlocking the Secrets of the Universe; LIGO Team Awarded 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics

Astrophysicists have long sought to detect ripples in space-time, called gravitational waves, since Albert Einstein’s 1916 prediction of General Relativity. But only some of the most massive astrophysical events, such as mergers of black holes and neutron stars, can produce gravitational waves strong enough to be detected on earth. Today, the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne, California Institute of Technology, USA and Rainer Weiss, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, "for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves."

Added: 03 Oct 2017

DNA: The next hot material in photonics?

Using DNA from salmon, researchers in South Korea hope to make better biomedical and other photonic devices based on organic thin films. Often used in cancer treatments and health monitoring, thin films have all the capabilities of silicon-based devices with the possible added advantage of being more compatible with living tissue.

Added: 02 Oct 2017

Circadian Rhythms, the Body's Natural Time-Keeping System, Awarded 2017 Nobel Prize

Most of the processes that occur in the mind and body follow natural rhythms. Those with a cycle length of about one day are named circadian rhythms. The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded today to Jeffrey C. Hall and Michael Rosbash of Brandeis University, USA and Michael W. Young, Rockefeller University, USA, "for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm."

Added: 02 Oct 2017

The Optical Society Congratulates the LIGO and Virgo Scientific Collaboration for Fourth Gravitation

Albert Einstein’s 1916 general theory of relativity was validated for a fourth time according a joint announcement between the international LIGO and Virgo Scientific Collaborations. Only some of the most massive astrophysical events, such as mergers of black holes and neutron stars, can produce gravitational waves strong enough to be detected on earth. On August 14, the Virgo Collaboration, along with the U.S. LIGO observatories, detected its first gravitational wave signal from a pair of black holes violently merging over a billion light-years away. LIGO’s previous detections have stemmed from merging black holes but this is the first time a merger has been witnessed by three observatories at one time.

Added: 28 Sep 2017