Since the security of all modern cryptographic techniques relies on unpredictable and irreproducible digital keys generated by random-number generators (RNGs), the realization of high-quality RNG is essential for secure communications. In this report, a new RNG, which utilizes single-electron phenomena, is proposed. A room-temperature operating silicon single-electron transistor (SET) having nearby an electron pocket is used as a high-quality, ultra-small RNG. In the proposed RNG, stochastic single-electron capture/emission processes to/from the electron pocket are detected with high sensitivity by the SET, and result in giant random telegraphic signals (GRTS) on the SET current. It is experimentally demonstrated that the single-electron RNG generates extremely high-quality random digital sequences at room temperature, in spite of its simple configuration. Because of its small-size and low-power properties, the single-electron RNG is promising as a key nanoelectronic device for future ubiquitous computing systems with highly secure mobile communication capabilities.
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