CES Las Vegas January 8 - 11

Fraunhofer IOF presents technology for secure communication at the CES 2019 in Las Vegas

Fraunhofer IOF / January 10, 2019

From January 8th to 11th, 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF is presenting an entangled photon source for satellite-based quantum communication for the first time at the world's largest trade fair for consumer electronics - the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. Such connected or »entangled« pairs of photons should in future be used for secure encryption technologies.

© Fraunhofer IOF
Satellite-based source of entangled photons. These photons are used in secure encryption technologies.

Whether information from the communication of two banks, of government organizations or private persons: Encryption of data today is mostly based on mathematical methods. The problem is that with the increasing processing power of computers, the decoding of encrypted messages is getting easier - Developments like the quantum computer could actually undermine current encryption methods, as they can use much more effective decryption algorithms than is possible with conventional computers is.

One solution offers encryption by means of a physical principle, the so-called quantum entanglement: In this process, twin photons are generated that interlock with each other with respect to certain quantum states and are thus interdependent. That is, if, for example, the polarization of one photon is measured, that of the twin is automatically known. The special thing about it: The effect works independently of the distance of the photons towards each other. Based on this, keys can be generated which transmitters and receivers can see at a glance whether third parties have attempted to manipulate or listen to them.

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena have developed a stable, space-suitable source for such entangled photon pairs. This is robust enough that the precise calibration and the adjustments are not disturbed even by the extreme loads of a rocket launcher or the inhospitable conditions in the universe. The potential of this development can be shown by the fact that the photon source in the near future, among others, will enable the deployment of the first European quantum encryption satellite.

In addition to the quantum source engineering model, another development in the field of optics and photonics will be presented: an ultra-thin camera based on the principle of compound eyes of insects. The »compiund-eye technology« is particularly interesting for smartphone manufacturers, as it enables the production of narrow lenses for mobile phone cameras - and this at a future possible resolution of more than 10 megapixels with a camera thickness of only about three and a half millimeters.

From January 8th to 11th, 2019, the technologies will be exhibited at CES in Las Vegas (hall 1, booth 20236).