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Incoherent mode division multiplexing for high-security information encryption
preprintposted on 2023-04-15, 16:01 authored by Xin Liu, Sergey A. Ponomarenko, Fei Wang, Yangjian Cai, Chunhao Liang
In the age of information explosion, the conventional optical communication protocols are rapidly reaching the limits of their capacity, as almost all available degrees of freedom (e.g., wavelength, polarization) for division multiplexing have been explored to date. Recent advances in coherent mode division multiplexing have greatly facilitated high-speed optical communications and secure, high-capacity information storage and transfer. However, coherent mode division multiplexing is quite vulnerable to even minute environmental disturbances which can cause significant information loss. Here, we propose and experimentally demonstrate a paradigm shift to incoherent mode division multiplexing for high-security optical information encryption by harnessing the degree of coherence of structured random light beams. In contrast to the conventional techniques, our approach does not require mode orthogonality to circumnavigate unwanted mode crosstalk. In addition, our protocol has, in principle, no upper bound on its capacity. Thanks to the extreme robustness of structured random light to external perturbations, we are able to achieve highly accurate information encryption and decryption in the adverse environment. The proposed protocol opens new horizons in an array of fields, such as optical communications and cryptography, and it can be relevant for information processing with acoustical, matter as well as other types of waves.