We present a technique of nonlinear image encryption by use of virtual optics. The image to be encrypted is superposed on a random intensity image. And this superposed image propagates through a nonlinear medium and a 4-f system with single phase key. The image is encrypted to a stationary white noise. The decryption process is sensitive to the parameters of the encryption system and the phase key in 4-f system. This sensitivity makes attackers hard to access the phase key. In nonlinear medium, optically-induced potentials, which depend on intensity of optical wave, make the superposition principle frustrated. This nonlinearity based on optically induced potentials highly improves the secrecy level of image encryption. Resistance against attacks based on the phase retrieval technique proves that it has the high secrecy level. This nonlinear image encryption based on optically induced potentials is proposed and demonstrated for the first time.
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