The security of many applications in the field of ICT, such as data encryption or digital signatures, strongly depends on random numbers that are used as a seed for their primitives. As a recent investigation has revealed, not adopting a high quality for random number generation can result in a somewhat worst-case scenario of having an unknown adversary turning the own firewall into their own spying devices. A quantum random number generator (QRNG) could therefore be very useful.

Compared to opto-electronics as applied in the telecom and datacom segments, QRNGs are not yet widely available. We therefore investigated how QRNG functionality can be integrated in an optical modulator as it is known from coherent transmission systems … and yes, you can overlay such a QRNG function on a PolMux I/Q modulator – that definitely works!

We will present more details on 10th of December during the ECOC conference, which starts just end of this week: N. Vokic et al., “True Random Number Generation in an Optical I/Q Modulator”, in Proc. ECOC’20, Th.2H.5. In case you should not attend ECOC, you can also find an open-access preprint in our scientific publication section.