Using standard optical equipment, the research team essentially renders the fiber-optic light transmission invisible or stealthy. Instead of using one color of the light spectrum to send one large data stream, this method spreads the transmission across many colors in the optical spectrum bandwidth (1,000 x wider than digital) and intentionally creates multiple weaker data streams that are hidden under noise and elude detection.
Every transmission, whether it is analog, digital or optical, has a certain amount of “noise.” The researchers demonstrated that they can transmit weaker encrypted data under a stronger inherent noise level that cannot be detected.
The solution also employs a commercially available phase mask, which changes the phase of each wavelength. That process also appears as noise, which destroys the “coherence” or ability to recompile the data without the correct encryption key. The optical phase mask cannot be recorded offline, so the data is destroyed if a hacker tries to decode it.
“Basically, the innovative breakthrough is that if you can’t detect it, you can’t steal it,” explains Prof. Dan Sadot, Director of the Optical Communications Research Laboratory, who heads the team that developed the technology. “Because an eavesdropper can neither read the data nor even detect the existence of the transmitted signal, our optical stealth transmission provides the highest level of privacy and security for sensitive data applications.”
BGN is now seeking an industry partner to implement and commercialize the patented “stealth” encryption technology.
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