Particles of twisted light entangled by quantum mechanics provide a novel approach to dense and secure data storage. Holograms that produce 3-D images and serve as security features on credit cards are typically created by laying down patterns with laser light beams. In recent years, physicists have discovered ways to make holograms out of entangled photons. Technology has taken a new turn.
Researchers report in a study that entangled photons traveling in corkscrew paths have resulted in holograms that offer the possibility of dense and ultrasecure data encryption.
Previously, researchers used entangled pairs of twisted photons to send data through the air. Because light can have different amounts of twist, the approach should allow for high-speed data transmission, with each twist serving as a different communication channel.
The same method is now being used to record data in holograms. Instead of sending data through multiple twisted light channels, photon pairs with varying degrees of twist create distinct data sets in a single hologram. The more orbital angular momentum states involved, each with varying degrees of twist, the more data researchers can pack into a hologram.
In addition to packing more data into holograms, diversifying the twists used to record the data improves security. Anyone who wants to read the data must first understand or guess how the light that recorded it was twisted.
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