Solution-processed carbon nanotube true random number generator

William A. Gaviria Rojas, Julian J. McMorrow, Michael L. Geier, Qianying Tang, Chris H. Kim, Tobin J. Marks, Mark C. Hersam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


With the growing adoption of interconnected electronic devices in consumer and industrial applications, there is an increasing demand for robust security protocols when transmitting and receiving sensitive data. Toward this end, hardware true random number generators (TRNGs), commonly used to create encryption keys, offer significant advantages over software pseudorandom number generators. However, the vast network of devices and sensors envisioned for the "Internet of Things" will require small, low-cost, and mechanically flexible TRNGs with low computational complexity. These rigorous constraints position solution-processed semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) as leading candidates for next-generation security devices. Here, we demonstrate the first TRNG using static random access memory (SRAM) cells based on solution-processed SWCNTs that digitize thermal noise to generate random bits. This bit generation strategy can be readily implemented in hardware with minimal transistor and computational overhead, resulting in an output stream that passes standardized statistical tests for randomness. By using solution-processed semiconducting SWCNTs in a low-power, complementary architecture to achieve TRNG, we demonstrate a promising approach for improving the security of printable and flexible electronics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4976-4981
Number of pages6
JournalNano letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 9 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.


  • Internet of Things
  • Thin-film transistor
  • cybersecurity
  • encryption
  • printed electronics


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