Optical Key

Reliable and secure access control is necessary for critical physical infrastructures, sensitive communications networks, electronic devices and products against counterfeiting or piracy, among others. This technology aims to overcome the existing vulnerabilities in access control methods through a novel and extremely difficult approach to hack. It consists in the use of photonic crystals with non-conventional geometries to grant or deny a controlled access to a place, device or information. Using the properties of photonic crystals or other periodic systems, it is possible to form images that do not diffract or destroy, transporting information reliably from one end to the other of the photonic crystal or other periodic systems, regardless of the propagation distance.



TRL 4. Currently, a prototype of the optical key  is available at laboratory scale, using the same assembly that is required for its implementation, a coding of numbers from 0 to 9 that can be transported approximately 10 centimeters. Tests have been carried out with different geometries with which it has been possible to transmit optical information in a massive and reliable way.



Market size: US$ 10.030 Mio. (2023)

CAGR: 6,5%

Segment: Access control

Factors such as the high adoption of access control solutions due to growing security concerns, technological advancements, the deployment of wireless technology in security systems, and the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT)-based security systems drive this market. The market growth can be directly linked to the growth of the commercial sector and increased security threats across the world. The adoption of access control systems is growing in the existing and potential market segments, such as banking and finance, enterprises, retail, and hospitality. The key factor restraining the growth of the access control market is less awareness among end users about advanced security solutions.



Double user authentication: using identification digits encoded in complex light patterns.

Ability to recognize not only the door that is accessed, but also the owner of the card, for the administration of the security level.

Cannot be intercepted and read as in radio-frequency devices, that can be pirated.

Cannot be easily cloned as in magnetic cards.

Cannot be faked as in 2-dimensional fingerprint scanners.

Is impervious to external electromagnetic fields. Also, the Access Control System possibly offering a means of secure communication link.



Oscar Astudillo, Technology Transfer Coordinator


+56 22 389 5603


For more details, download the full tech card