A Random Number Generator Based On The Spontaneous Alpha-Decay

Tech ID: 20647 / UC Case 1999-147-0

Brief Description

The present invention is an apparatus and a method for generation of random numbers. The apparatus comprises an alpha-radiation source, such as Am 241, for which the decay product produces no secondary radiation with the energy equal or higher than that of the prime alpha radiation. The alpha particles emitted by the isotope and having reached the detector have a narrow energy spectrum and, hence, produce identical electrical pulses in a detector. An alpha-particle detection system is provided which includes a differential discriminator in combination with a logical selector. This combination of elements allows a positive identification of individual events of alpha-decay in the alpha-radiation source to be made and filters out any other signals produced by different radiation sources both inside and outside the apparatus. An electronic unit processes the stream of identical electric pulses into a stream of random numbers.

Suggested uses

Information security; encoding key generation


The digital output of the physical random number generator will be completely free of correlations usually present in the output of other physical sources of random numbers and associated with:

  • the physical source of randomness;
  • the electronic circuitry; and
  • outside and inside electromagnetic and other interference.

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 6,745,217 06/01/2004 1999-147


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  • Figotin, Aleksandr

Other Information


random number generator

Categorized As

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  • Institute for Innovation Logo

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