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Researchers are creating optical framed nodes to encode information



'Classified nodes': uOttawa researchers create optical framed nodes to encode information

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

In a world first, researchers from the University of Ottawa, in collaboration with Israeli researchers, have been able to create optical framed nodes in the laboratory that could potentially be used in modern technologies. Their work opens the door to new methods of distributing secret cryptographic keys ̵

1; used to encrypt and decrypt data, ensure secure communications and protect private information. The group recently published their findings in Nature communication.


“This is fundamentally important, especially from a topology-focused perspective, as framed nodes provide a platform for topological quantum calculations,” explained senior author Professor Ebrahim Karimi, Canada Research Chair 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 information is encoded within these framed nodes.”

The concept

The researchers suggest a simple do-it-yourself lesson to help us better understand framed nodes, the three-dimensional objects that can also be described as a surface.

“Take a narrow strip of paper and try to make a knot,” said first author Hugo Larocque, the uTttawa alumnus and current Ph.D. students at MIT.

“The resulting object is called a framed node and has very interesting and important mathematical features.”

The group tried to achieve the same result, but within an optical beam, which presents a higher degree of difficulty. After a few tries (and knots that looked more like knotted strings), the group came up with what they were looking for: a knotted ribbon structure that is essential for framed knots.

'Classified nodes': uOttawa researchers create optical framed nodes to encode information

Encryption scheme for a framed braid within a framed node. The knot along with a few numbers can be used to recover the encrypted braid using a procedure that depends on primary factorization. Credit: University of Ottawa

“To add to this band, our group relied on beamforming techniques that manipulated the vector nature of light,” Hugo Larocque explained. “By changing the direction of oscillation of the light field along an ‘unframed’ optical node, we were able to assign a frame to the latter by” gluing “together the lines traced out of these oscillating fields.”

According to the researchers, structured light beams are widely used for coding and distribution of information.

“So far, these applications have been limited to physical quantities that can be recognized by observing the beam at a given position,” said uOttawa postdoctoral fellow and co-author of this study, Dr. Alessio D’Errico.

“Our work shows that the number of turns in the band orientation in connection with prime number factorization can be used to extract a so-called” multi-representation “of the node.”

“The structural features of those objects can be used to specify programs for processing quantum information,” Hugo Larocque added. “In a situation where this program wants to be kept secret while being communicated between different parties, one will need a means to encrypt this ‘merge’ and later decrypt it. Our work solves this issue by proposing to use our optical framed node is an encryption object for these applications, which can later be restored by the merge extraction method that we also introduced. “

“For the first time, these complex 3D structures have been exploited to develop new methods for distributing secret cryptographic keys. In addition, there is a broad and strong interest in exploiting topological concepts in quantum computing, communication and diffusion-free electronics. Nodes are also described of specific topological properties that were not previously considered for cryptographic protocols. “

'Classified nodes': uOttawa researchers create optical framed nodes to encode information

Reproduction of the reconstructed structure of a framed trefoil node generated in an optical beam. Credit: University of Ottawa

The origin

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

Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Bar-Ilan University in Israel developed the protocol for encoding prime numbers.

The project then crossed the Mediterranean and the Atlantic before ending in Dr. Karimi’s Laboratory in the Advanced Research Complex at the University of Ottawa. This is where the experimental procedure was developed and implemented. The resulting data were then analyzed and the merge structure was extracted through a specially devised program.

The applications

“Current technologies allow us to manipulate with high accuracy the various functions that characterize a light beam, such as intensity, phase, wavelength and polarization,” said Hugo Larocque. “This makes it possible to encode and decode information with all optical methods. Quantum and classical cryptographic protocols have been devised that utilize 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 for the distribution of secret cryptographic keys.”

“In addition, the experimental and theoretical techniques we have developed can help find new experimental approaches to topological quantum computation that promise to overcome noise-related problems in current quantum computational technologies,” added Dr. Ebrahim Karimi.

The paper “Optical Framed Knots as Information Carriers” was recently published in Nature communication.


Researchers are developing new process for structuring quantum materials


More information:
Hugo Larocque et al., Optically Framed Knots as Information Carriers, Nature communication (2020). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-020-18792-z

Provided by the University of Ottawa

Citation: ‘Classified nodes’: Researchers create optical framed nodes to encode information (2020, October 17) retrieved October 17, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-10-optical-encode.html

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