Thursday, February 23, 2006

heisenberg uncertainty principle in action

feb 23rd

my favorite scientific principle. something that gives zealots of science some reason to pause.

glad to see someone has invented a purely practical application.

from siliconvalley.com

Thank you for calling Heisenberg Security; we are currently both in and out of the office: Looks like quantum cryptography is finally coming of age.  University of Toronto professor  Hoi-Kwong Lo says he's developed a commercially viable encryption technique that uses a photonic decoy to safeguard data . Based on Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, which states that merely observing a quantum object alters it, the technique uses photon keys to protect data. Intermingled with the data they encrypt, these keys become useless if they're observed by a third party (a la Heisenberg).  "The principle is that if someone makes some measurement, or has some interaction (with the protecting photon), then its quantum state will change. If any eavesdropper tries to find out anything about the (photon keys), then the (quantum) orientation will change," Lo told The Toronto Star. "The eavesdropper has no idea about the polarization and if he tries to measure it, it will change. " Lo says the technique is nearly infallible. "We are using fundamental quantum mechanics principles that no eavesdropper can do anything about."

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