A method for optical image hiding and for optical image encryption and hiding in the Fresnel domain via completely optical means is proposed, which encodes original object image into the encrypted image and then embeds it into host image in our modified Mach-Zehnder interferometer architecture. The modified Mach-Zehnder interferometer not only provides phase shifts to record complex amplitude of final encrypted object image on CCD plane but also introduces host image into reference path of the interferometer to hide it. The final encrypted object image is registered as interference patterns, which resemble a Fresnel diffraction pattern of the host image, and thus the secure information is imperceptible to unauthorized receivers. The method can simultaneously realize image encryption and image hiding at a high speed in pure optical system. The validity of the method and its robustness against some common attacks are investigated by numerical simulations and experiments.
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