Validating quantum random number generators
Quantum random number generators (QRNGs) use the inherent randomness of natural physical processes to create their output. This is an underpinning technology for creating uncrackable quantum encryption keys. However, there is currently no method for certifying the unique randomness produced by QRNGs. Modelling and experimentally testing the physical process used to create a QRNG’s output can be used to evidence its quantum nature, and hence its uniqueness. The AQuRand project, led by NPL, is developing expertise and capability to do this validation, and inform regulation. We are setting up a consortium, establishing a test facility and NPL and testing vendor QRNG prototypes, and participating in standards development processes.
Enabling QKD over-the-air
Whilst much quantum communications happens in fibre, at the user end, encoded particles may need to make the short journeys from the end of the network to the user’s device. AirQKD is establishing a UK ecosystem – from single-photon components to networked quantum systems – to develop short to mid-range communication in free space. This will include pilot demonstrations of enabling infrastructure for quantum-secure 5G and autonomous and connected vehicles.
In this collaborative project, NPL leads work on security evaluation of free-space QKD hardware and the characterisation of QKD components (receivers and transmitters and quantum random number generators) through establishing testing facilities, models and processes.
Validating secure key distribution technologies
Future secure communications, that cannot be cracked by quantum computers, will combine QKD and quantum-resistant algorithms. This involves a wide range of new technologies to create and distribute secure keys. The AQuaSeC project developed supply chain components, built prototypes, tested their security and demonstrated their benefits to end users. From this testing, NPL developed QKD security accreditation process and documentation.