Ground-breaking quantum RNG could revolutionise the tech scene

By Srikanth
5 Min Read
Ground-breaking quantum RNG could revolutionise the tech scene 1

In the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity, the development of robust encryption techniques is crucial to safeguard sensitive data from ongoing malicious threats online. Recent ground-breaking advancements in the realm of random number generators (RNGs) have emerged, promising enhanced security measures using quantum technology and other novel materials.

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Traditional methods for generating random number sequences include the use of pseudorandom number generators, which generates results that appear random but may in fact be pre-determined. A good example of PRNGs is their application in online slot games, which are designed to generate fully random outcomes, closely aligned to a slot’s pre-programmed volatility and return to player (RTP) percentage. According to a recent article on this topic, volatility differs from RTP as it refers to how the returns are distributed rather than how much, with low-volatility games paying less but more frequently and high-volatility games paying more but less frequently.

There’s also ‘true’ random number generators, which use physical phenomena to derive fully random, undetectable outcomes. This includes the use of atmospheric and thermal noise, as well as cosmic radiation and radioactive decay.

However, a new approach to random number generation may be dawning with the introduction of quantum random number generators (QRNGs) leveraging innovative materials to fortify digital defences.

Researchers at the Department of Electrical Engineering at Linköping University have disclosed a QRNG utilising a unique material to bolster cybersecurity measures. This development marks a paradigm shift in how randomness is harnessed for cryptographic purposes, ensuring a higher degree of unpredictability in key generation.

Do we know the novel material used within this QRNG?

The novel material which powers this QRNG is the crystal-like material perovskite. This naturally occurring mineral was discovered by a mineralogist from Germany, named Gustav Rose, who named it after Russian mineralogist, Lev Perovski. Researchers use light emitting diodes generated from perovskite to generate these naturally random results. There’s a strong belief that perovskites could also prove a low-cost, eco-conscious alternative to delivering next-generation cryptography.

We’ve already touched on the deterministic nature of traditional PRNGs, with their output dependent wholly on the initial conditions set by programmers. It’s this predictability that could prove exploitable by quantum adversaries. QRNGs leverage the principles of quantum mechanics, tapping into the inherent randomness at the quantum level.

QRNGs deliver a higher level of entropy, rendering them immune to deterministic patterns that can threaten the security of encryption keys and other ‘random’ codes or results.

Ground-breaking quantum RNG could revolutionise the tech scene 2

Guilherme B Xavier, researcher at the Department of Electrical Engineering at Linköping University, said that cryptography doesn’t just need to deliver random numbers, but it also needs to ensure individuals are the “only ones who know about them”. Xavier said the power of QRNGs is such that it’s likely “impossible” for cybercriminals to “eavesdrop” without the recipient of the numbers realising.

Future applications of perovskite-powered QRNGs

Xavier and his colleagues, together with the university’s Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, have conceived a QRNG capable of not only being deployed for encryption purposes but for use in simulations such as sports betting or computers.

There’s even a belief that it could redefine the use of optical instruments in consumer electronics. Feng Gao, professor at IFM, said traditional lasers are “expensive” and perovskite light emitting diodes (PeLEDs) are a way of keeping the cost of consumer electronics down and mitigating the environmental impact of device production as they require much less energy to operate.

We’re still some way from perovskite-powered QRNGs from entering the mainstream. The next challenge for researchers is to remove all traces of lead from perovskite, which will help to extend the lifetime of this occurring mineral of calcium titanate that’s currently just 22 days. Xavier hopes this new QRNG could be approved for use within cybersecurity environments before the end of this decade.

The team’s general findings have been published in a formal paper for Communications Physics. The article, titled “Quantum random number generation based on a perovskite light emitting diode” can be viewed online for those keen to understand the process in greater detail.

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