1996-02-20 - Optical repeaters

Header Data

From: Alexandra Griffin <acg@mandrake.cen.ufl.edu>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 78567702abfa18358c038afe833ef73a4a17a8979c869ec572f3e02c62a80c27
Message ID: <199602200045.TAA23358@mandrake.cen.ufl.edu>
Reply To: <9602190113.AA23991@pig.die.com>
UTC Datetime: 1996-02-20 02:53:07 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 20 Feb 1996 10:53:07 +0800

Raw message

From: Alexandra Griffin <acg@mandrake.cen.ufl.edu>
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 1996 10:53:07 +0800
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Optical repeaters
In-Reply-To: <9602190113.AA23991@pig.die.com>
Message-ID: <199602200045.TAA23358@mandrake.cen.ufl.edu>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text

I wrote:

> > Optical
> > repeaters have to pass your signal through an intermediate electronic
> > stage anyway, since we have no purely optical valve/transistor
> > equivalents (bosons don't interact with each other at all).

Dave Emery responds:
> 	This is not true.   There is now a whole technology of optical
> amplifiers for fiber communications systems that used Ettrium doped
> fibers pumped with strong light from a laser at a slightly shorter
> wavelength. These fiber optical amplifiers have gains in the order of
> 10-12 db in a section of special doped fiber only about 10 feet long.

You're right, I do remember reading about these somewhere... didn't
realize they were already in use.

Even so, I still don't think such a repeater would pass quantum-crypto
signals, excepting any photons that happened to just "leak" directly
through.  Your useful quantum state information resides in the
individual photons originally sent, and any even the optical repeaters
you describe achieve gain by by gating in *more* photons under the
incoming signal's control.  In so doing it will collapse the
wavefunctions of these incoming photons.

Not to say repeaters on the line aren't possible, but they'll have to
decode your data using a copy of the "secret" key, then re-encode for
transmission... so this will be a potential break-in point and need
good physical security.

> 	The current generation of undersea cables from the US to Europe
> use these amplifiers instead of the more traditional regenerating
> repeaters that convert the light to electronic signals, reclock the data
> stream and convert it back to light with another laser diode.   There is
> no conversion from light to digital electronic signals all the way from
> Rhode Island to England - the same light pulses that go into the fiber
> on one side of the Atlantic come out on the other end without ever
> having been converted to electronic form in between.

You said power for the amps comes from a high-intensity,
shorter-wavelength beam... can this be superimposed on the original
signal at the point of origin, as with in-line coax-cable amplifiers?

> 	 These amplfiers have enourmous bandwidth, and can be used to
> amplify several slightly different wavelengths of light allowing
> wavelength division multiplexing of multiple streams of light flashes of
> slightly different "colors" (all the current technology works at around
> 1500 nm which is well into the infrared).   This can expand the capacity
> of a single fiber to four to six times the 5 Gb/sec that is the current
> state of the art.

Nice... :)

- alex