Physical key-protected one-time pad

Roarke Horstmeyer*, Benjamin Judkewitz, Ivo M. Vellekoop, Sid Assawaworrarit, Changhuei Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)
85 Downloads (Pure)


We describe an encrypted communication principle that forms a secure link between two parties without electronically saving either of their keys. Instead, random cryptographic bits are kept safe within the unique mesoscopic randomness of two volumetric scattering materials. We demonstrate how a shared set of patterned optical probes can generate 10 gigabits of statistically verified randomness between a pair of unique 2 mm3 scattering objects. This shared randomness is used to facilitate information-theoretically secure communication following a modified one-time pad protocol. Benefits of volumetric physical storage over electronic memory include the inability to probe, duplicate or selectively reset any bits without fundamentally altering the entire key space. Our ability to securely couple the randomness contained within two unique physical objects can extend to strengthen hardware required by a variety of cryptographic protocols, which is currently a critically weak link in the security pipeline of our increasingly mobile communication culture.

Original languageEnglish
Article number03543
Number of pages6
JournalScientific reports
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Physical key-protected one-time pad'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this