December 29, 2020 8:21:55 pm
DAYS after successfully testing the Quantum Key Distribution technology, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has achieved another milestone in quantum technology by successfully developing a Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG), the Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday.
The DRDO Young Scientist Laboratory for Quantum Technologies (DYSL-QT), a DRDO facility based in Mumbai, has developed a QRNG which has the ability to detect random quantum events and convert those into a stream of binary digits.
The facility has developed a fiber-optic branch path based QRNG.
Branch path-based QRNG relies on the principle that if a single photon falls on a balanced beam splitter, it will take either of the beam-splitter output paths randomly. As the path chosen by the photon is random, the randomness is translated to a sequence of binary digits, also called bits.
Random numbers have essential roles in various fields ranging from quantum communication, cryptography applications like key generation, key wrapping, authentication along with scientific simulations, lotteries and fundamental physics experiments. The generation of perfect randomness is generally considered impossible with classical methodologies. Quantum mechanics has the inherent potential of providing true random numbers and thus has become the preferred option for scientific applications requiring randomness.
A press statement from the Defence Ministry read, “The QRNG system developed by the laboratory (DYSL-QT) has passed the global randomness testing standards of NIST and Die-harder Statistical Test Suites at the speed of around 150 kbps after post-processing. The generated random numbers are also evaluated and verified using DRDO’s indigenously developed Randomness Testing Statistical Test Suite of SAG. With this development, India enters the club of countries which have the technology to achieve the generation of random numbers based on the Quantum Phenomenon.”
On December 8, the DRDO announced that their Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) technology underwent a successful trial between two laboratories in Hyderabad, where the quantum technology-based security was validated for a range of 12 km long over a fibre optic channel. QKD is primarily a mechanism to undertake secure communication, which utilises a cryptographic protocol involving various components of quantum mechanics. The technology enables two communicating sides to come up with random secret keys shared by both of them and known exclusively to them, and only they can use it to encrypt and decrypt messages, thus achieving highly secure communication.
DYSL-QT is one of the five YSLs (Young Scientist Laboratories) of the DRDO which are working on five different technologies. The other facilities are Artificial Intelligence (DYSL-AI) Bengaluru, Cognitive Technologies (DYSL-CT) Chennai, Asymmetric Technologies (DYSL-AT) Kolkata, Smart Materials (DYSL-SM) Hyderabad. These five facilities were dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January this year.
Various facilities of the DRDO are currently working on various quantum technology-based applications. In December last year, an international symposium on Quantum Information Technology (ISQIT 2019) was organised in Pune by Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (DIAT) of the DRDO, the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) and Joint Advanced Technology Centre (JATC) of Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.
Quantum Technologies concerns the study, control and manipulation of quantum principle- based systems with the goal of achieving information processing, secure communication and superior sensors beyond the limits of the classical systems. It is a deeply interdisciplinary field, lying in the cross-over of areas such as quantum physics, condensed matter physics, computer science, mathematics and electrical and electronics engineering.
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