Honors Gallery

Qrypt Licensing of Quantum Random Number Generator

Award: Excellence in Technology Transfer

Year: 2018

Award Type: National

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)

Random numbers are important for a host of applications, including encryption, authentication, simulation, and gambling. Quantum random number generators (QRNGs) are unreproducible sources of true randomness, but they have nonuniform distributions which can lead to predictability, for which they must be corrected.

The invention provided by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) combines QRNGs with quantum feedforward / feedback control for the first time producing a self-correcting true random number generator (SC-TRNG). The high speed and low bias of the device solve the two major outstanding problems which limit QRNG market adoption and penetration. The ORNL QRNG device will impact the growing cryptography and multifactor authentication markets.

After a one-year development effort using ORNL’s Technology Innovation Program (TIP) Funding Program, the ORNL inventors, have reduced significant technologic risk for industry by demonstrating a prototype quantum random number generator that offers a one Gbps bit rate using low cost components and demonstrating a compact form factor. The extreme acceleration in bit-rate and the large drop in cost are due to the use of proprietary ORNL intellectual property.

Continuous variable measurements are based on the quantum statistics in a light field, not on the properties of a single or small number of photons.

Because these statistics are guaranteed to be random by the laws of physics, the statistics can be directly sampled to produce random numbers if a large sample size is provided.

It is significantly more feasible and cheaper to make many photons than to make a single photon, and detectors that can register the quantum statistics of large photon numbers are cheaper than single photon detectors by an order of magnitude.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory exclusively licensed the technology to Qrypt, an innovative, well financed, start-up venture focused on building the security market’s only practical and scalable quantum secure encryption. This transfer specifically includes intellectual property (IP) and engineering know-how that overlapped the core business of the company – encryption of data-at-rest and communications using one-time-pads generated from true random numbers.