Electronic communications are to be made secure with the creation of the world's first practical Quantum Random Number Generator patented by Quantum Base, a Lancaster University spin-out company.
Current QRNGs are typically slow and expensive, so therefore only used in niche applications.
But the Qantum Base QRNG can be embedded within any electronic device without increasing cost or complexity and with a very high maximum speed.
The QRNG has been selected for this year's prestigious Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition which is "celebrating the science shaping our future."
The impact of the QRNG will be revolutionary, making attacks based on predicting 'random' events a thing of the past.
A thousandth the width of a human hair, this quantum device can be incorporated into both new and existing microelectronics.
It uses a single diode that can, for example, be fabricated together with the other billions of diodes in a microprocessor.
It will overcome the weaknesses of current encryption, allow Blockchain to be implemented with unbreakable quantum security and will be vital in sensitive areas such as banking, finance, defence and social media.
Random numbers are the basis of security and privacy for any electronic communication.
From lotteries and gambling to encryption algorithms in every message sent over the internet, a trustworthy source of random numbers is required.
But true randomness is not easy to achieve, and current solutions can lead to predictable results, as in the case of poorly designed mathematical algorithms, or can be biased if they depend on physical devices.
Online security currently relies on "pseudo" random number generators which are vulnerable to attack.
Any flaw can have catastrophic results, as when 750,000 national ID cards and e-residency smart cards were compromised in Estonia in 2017.
The problem has now been solved with the creation of the world's first practical true random number generator based on quantum physics.
Professor Rob Young, Director of Lancaster's Quantum Technology Centre, said:
"The technology we have created here is exciting not only because it solves an important problem, but it also represents the best possible solution to that problem. Flaws in the way current electronic devices produce random numbers weakens their security and makes them less efficient. Our solution fixes this, but it's also incredibly small and efficient, which is very important."
Phillip Speed, CEO of Quantum Base said: "At Quantum Base we have created a small, low power device that produces pure random numbers. It can be incorporated into any electronic product with little or no incremental cost once volume production is achieved."
True random number generators are systems whose outputs cannot be determined, even if their internal structure and previous behaviour are known.
Subatomic particles do not obey the laws of classical physics but are totally unpredictable in behaviour so they are the ideal source of randomness.
This makes the Quantum Random Number Generator developed by Quantum Base and Lancaster University unbreakable because it is based on their intrinsic uncertainty.
Phillip Speed, CEO of Quantum Base said:"Our simple electronic device uses the intrinsic uncertainty inherent within quantum mechanics to create a game changing product applicable to a vast array of volume markets such as the Internet of Things and the Industrial Internet of Things where size, cost and power consumption are critical factors that have inhibited the proliferation of quantum random number generators.
"We look forward to helping secure many sectors going forward with this great British technology."