Research NewsOptical Communications

Chaos Keeps Data Under Wraps

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Science  02 May 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5313, pp. 679
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5313.679

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PARIS-- Chaos, once seen as a nuisance or a curiosity, has found yet another practical use. A research group in France has harnessed it to protect optical communications signals from eavesdroppers by creating chaotic fluctuations in the transmitted signal, then removing them at the receiver. The scheme can encode and decode signals at exceptionally high rates, keeping up with the high transmission speeds of fiber-optic cables.