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Pulses of light to protect cryptocurrencies

The development comes from the University of Southern California. This was undertaken in response to a cybersecurity flaw picked up through a research program. The security issue relates to the way that data is transmitted over thousands of miles via fiber optic cables, with vast sections underneath the world’s oceans. Data is transmitted via pulses of light. To better protect data, the researchers have designed a frequency comb that appears to be an effective tool for data encryption.

The frequency comb is a device that increases the potential applications of lasers through converting the light from a single wavelength into multiple wavelengths. This functions to form tens to hundreds of lasers from a single laser. The developed frequency comb is only the size of a human hair, which contrasts to conventional frequency combs which can be up to the siexe of a typical apartment refrigerator.

With the newly generated comb, the device requires 1000x less power to operate. This allows for it to be suitable with mobile applications. The power reduction was achieved by the attachment of just a single layer of a 25-atom organic molecule to the surface of a laser.

The most interesting use of the comb is with quantum cryptography. Quantum cryptography is the science of exploiting quantum mechanical properties to perform cryptographic tasks. An example of quantum cryptography is quantum key distribution which offers an information-theoretically secure solution to the key exchange problem.

Frequency combs can enhance security of cryptocurrency data transmitted as light pulses by using entangled pairs of photons created at exactly the same time with exactly the same properties. Here frequency comb generators function as entangled photon generators. In the trials cryptocurrency data transmitted in this form appears immune from current hacking technologies.

The research has been published in the journal Science Advances, with the paper titled “Low-threshold parametric oscillation in organically modified microcavities.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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