The integrated photonics chips are about the same size as a fingertip and produce random numbers twice as fast as conventional QRNGs.
Randomly generated digital numbers, as ubiquitous as they are in everyday use, such as encryption and security, are rarely genuinely random.
Researchers are working to improve the portability and speed of these generators, which have been slow and bulky.
AIP Publishing’s Applied Physics letters present the fastest real-time QRNG ever created. This makes the devices more portable and faster. This device uses a state-of-the-art photonic integrated chip and optimized real-time processing to extract randomness from the quantum Entropy Source of Vacuum States.
Jun Zhang, the author of this article, said that integrated quantum photonics technology has recently shown significant benefits in size reduction. “We have shown that this technology can generate ultrafast and real-time quantum random numbers.”
Today, most QRNGs use discrete electronic and photonic components. However, integrating these components into a chip remains a complex technical task.
Zhang stated that quantum random numbers are unpredictable, unproducible, and unbiased. Their randomness is due to the intrinsic indeterministic natures of quantum physics.
The group’s chip uses indium-germanium-arsenide photodiodes and a trans-impedance amplifier integrated onto a silicon photonics chip with several couplers and attenuators. Combining these components allows the QRNG to detect signals from a quantum source with a significantly better frequency response.
Zhang stated, “The surprising thing about our work is the high-frequency responsive performance of the final integrated photonic chip is better than anticipated.”
After detecting randomness signals, they are processed and extracted by a field-programmable gate array. This device generates numbers at nearly 19 gigabits per second, a world record. These random numbers can be sent via fiber optic cable to any computer.
The group’s chip is also significantly smaller than many current QNRG instruments or modules, measuring 15.6 by 18.0 millimeters.
Zhang and his group hope their approach will help make QRNGs more practical for compact and fast devices.
Zhang stated that based on current work, a single low-cost chip of QRNG will be developed for commercial purposes. It will have a moderate random bit rate at megabits per sec. Zhang also said. “A single chip of this type could prove very useful in various electronic systems that require random numbers or signals, as well as in mobile phones for security enhancements.”