Advanced Data Encryption ​using 2D Materials

Chao Wen, Xuehua Li, Tommaso Zanotti, Francesco Maria Puglisi, Yuanyuan Shi, Fernan Saiz, Aleandro Antidormi, Stephan Roche, Wenwen Zheng, Xianhu Liang, Jiaxin Hu, Steffen Duhm, Juan B. Roldan, Tianru Wu, Victoria Chen, Eric Pop, Blas Garrido, Kaichen Zhu, Fei Hui, Mario Lanza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Advanced data encryption requires the use of true random number generators (TRNGs) to produce unpredictable sequences of bits. TRNG circuits with high degree of randomness and low power consumption may be fabricated by using the random telegraph noise (RTN) current signals produced by polarized metal/insulator/metal (MIM) devices as entropy source. However, the RTN signals produced by MIM devices made of traditional insulators, i.e., transition metal oxides like HfO2 and Al2 O3 , are not stable enough due to the formation and lateral expansion of defect clusters, resulting in undesired current fluctuations and the disappearance of the RTN effect. Here, the fabrication of highly stable TRNG circuits with low power consumption, high degree of randomness (even for a long string of 224  - 1 bits), and high throughput of 1 Mbit s-1 by using MIM devices made of multilayer hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) is shown. Their application is also demonstrated to produce one-time passwords, which is ideal for the internet-of-everything. The superior stability of the h-BN-based TRNG is related to the presence of few-atoms-wide defects embedded within the layered and crystalline structure of the h-BN stack, which produces a confinement effect that avoids their lateral expansion and results in stable operation.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2100185
JournalAdvanced Materials
StatePublished - May 27 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-07-09
Acknowledgements: M.L. acknowledges generous support from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. This work was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (grants no. 2018YFE0100800, 2019YFE0124200), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grants no. 61874075), the Collaborative Innovation Centre of Suzhou Nano Science & Technology, the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions, and the 111 Project from the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs of China. A.A. and S.R. acknowledge the project: ModElling Charge and Heat trANsport in 2D-materIals based Composites—MECHANIC reference number: PCI2018-093120 funded by Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades. ICN2 is funded by the CERCA Programme/Generalitat de Catalunya and is supported by the Severo Ochoa program from Spanish MINECO (Grant No. SEV-2017-0706). Y.S. acknowledges support from the European Union (Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions (grant no. 894840). The authors acknowledge technical advice from H.-S. Philip Wong from Stanford University and Xiaoming Xie from Chinese Academy of Sciences.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering


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