Research CommentariesPhysics

Chaos Has Come Again

Science  20 Feb 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5354, pp. 1156-1157
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5354.1156

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Under normal circumstances, fluctuations in a laser's output power or frequency would be cause for concern. But such fluctuations may be a manifestation of deterministic chaos, which can be harnessed for communication at high data rates. In his research commentary, Gauthier discusses work published in the same issue by VanWiggeren and Roy in which an erbium-doped ring laser was used to produce chaotic light, into which a message was embedded and later recovered. The results demonstrated the feasibility of private, high-bandwidth optical communication with chaotic systems.