Monday, April 25, 2011

US Patent 7930333 - Nanosize electron emitter for random number generation

Random number generation is important to computer and communication security. Often pseudo random number generators are used in practice but these random numbers exhibit cyclic behavior allowing them to be reproduced given sufficient time and resources. True random number generation can be based on natural random phenomena such as thermal noise. This patent teaches a new type of natural random number generator based on the stochastic behavior of nanoscale electron emitters. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for generating true random numbers, the method comprising:

detecting field emission of electrons from a nano-size emitter (NSE) with a detector;

processing an output signal from the field emission of electrons to generate random numbers; and

detecting the field emission with a differential discriminator having a window set between an upper and lower level that accepts and transfers only true electron signals so as to eliminate accidental background radiation or amplifier noise.

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