From dice to modern electronic circuits, there have been many attempts to build better devices to generate random numbers. Randomness is fundamental to security and cryptographic systems and to safeguarding privacy. A key challenge with random-number generators is that it is hard to ensure that their outputs are unpredictable1,2,3. For a random-number generator based on a physical process, such as a noisy classical system or an elementary quantum measurement, a detailed model that describes the underlying physics is necessary to assert unpredictability. Imperfections in the model compromise the integrity of the device. However, it is possible to exploit the phenomenon of quantum non-locality with a loophole-free Bell test to build a random-number generator that can produce output that is unpredictable to any adversary that is limited only by general physical principles, such as special relativity1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11. With recent technological developments, it is now possible to carry out such a loophole-free Bell test12,13,14,22. Here we present certified randomness obtained from a photonic Bell experiment and extract 1,024 random bits that are uniformly distributed to within 10−12. These random bits could not have been predicted according to any physical theory that prohibits faster-than-light (superluminal) signalling and that allows independent measurement choices. To certify and quantify the randomness, we describe a protocol that is optimized for devices that are characterized by a low per-trial violation of Bell inequalities. Future random-number generators based on loophole-free Bell tests may have a role in increasing the security and trust of our cryptographic systems and infrastructure.

Source: Experimentally generated randomness certified by the impossibility of superluminal signals | Nature