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Opt Express. 2011 Oct 10;19(21):20665-72. doi: 10.1364/OE.19.020665.

True random numbers from amplified quantum vacuum.

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1
ICFO-Institut de Ciencies Fotoniques, Castelldefels, E-08860 Barcelona, Spain. marc.jofre@icfo.es

Abstract

Random numbers are essential for applications ranging from secure communications to numerical simulation and quantitative finance. Algorithms can rapidly produce pseudo-random outcomes, series of numbers that mimic most properties of true random numbers while quantum random number generators (QRNGs) exploit intrinsic quantum randomness to produce true random numbers. Single-photon QRNGs are conceptually simple but produce few random bits per detection. In contrast, vacuum fluctuations are a vast resource for QRNGs: they are broad-band and thus can encode many random bits per second. Direct recording of vacuum fluctuations is possible, but requires shot-noise-limited detectors, at the cost of bandwidth. We demonstrate efficient conversion of vacuum fluctuations to true random bits using optical amplification of vacuum and interferometry. Using commercially-available optical components we demonstrate a QRNG at a bit rate of 1.11 Gbps. The proposed scheme has the potential to be extended to 10 Gbps and even up to 100 Gbps by taking advantage of high speed modulation sources and detectors for optical fiber telecommunication devices.

PMID:
21997077
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