Want True Random Numbers? You’re More Likely To Find It In Spintronics Than Frippertronics

Source: Slashdot Want True Random Numbers?  You’re More Likely To Find It In Spintronics Than Frippertronics

The Least Portable RNG Going

That Crown Royal bag full of dice might be handy for generating random numbers in a pinch, but as any gamer knows those dice are far from perfectly random; some even seem to hold grudges.  There have been many attempts to generate truly random numbers but when the processes used are closely examined a pattern is always discovered which can help predict what will be generated.

There is a new contender in this search for true randomness, skyrmions.  A few years back researchers discovered that electrons behaved rather interestingly in two dimensional films, with their spins all lining up perpendicular to the film in a state called perpendicular magnetic anisotropy.  If magnetic or electrical energy is fed into the film, the spin of some of the electrons, but not all, will flip.  As with a restless bed partner that flip disturbs it’s neighbours and magnetic eddies arise between them, these eddies are called skyrmions.

Once they are created these 1 micrometer magnetic swirls roam around the film and are quite stable.  This has lead to hopes that skyrmions can be used for computation but so far that has yet to bear much in the way of results.  However, researchers out of Brown University discovered how to make skyrmions traps by introducing small flaws in the film which will entrap any skyrmion which happens to wander in. Once unable to move, it seems that instead the size of the magnetic whirlpool starts to change and the size changes can be measured using the same Hall Effect that your higher end joystick uses.

It is thought that the size changes are completely unpredictable and that they could be used to generate random numbers.  If you want to know more, drop by Slashdot for linkage.

A group of Brown University physicists has developed a technique that can potentially generate millions of random digits per second by harnessing the behavior of skyrmions -- tiny magnetic anomalies that arise in certain two-dimensional materials.

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Jeremy Hellstrom

Call it K7M.com, AMDMB.com, or PC Perspective, Jeremy has been hanging out and then working with the gang here for years. Apart from the front page you might find him on the BOINC Forums or possibly the Fraggin' Frogs if he has the time.

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