A Compact Low-Voltage True Random Number Generator Based on Inkjet Printing Technology

Ahmet Turan Erozan, Guan Ying Wang, Rajendra Bishnoi, Jasmin Aghassi-Hagmann, Mehdi B. Tahoori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Printed electronics (PE) is a fast-growing field with promising applications in wearables, smart sensors, and smart cards, since it provides mechanical flexibility, and low-cost, on-demand, and customizable fabrication. To secure the operation of these applications, true random number generators (TRNGs) are required to generate unpredictable bits for cryptographic functions and padding. However, since the additive fabrication process of the PE circuits results in high intrinsic variations due to the random dispersion of the printed inks on the substrate, constructing a printed TRNG is challenging. In this article, we exploit the additive customizable fabrication feature of inkjet printing to design a TRNG based on electrolyte-gated field-effect transistors (EGFETs). We also propose a printed resistor tuning flow for the TRNG circuit to mitigate the overall process variation of the TRNG so that the generated bits are mostly based on the random noise in the circuit, providing a true random behavior. The simulation results show that the overall process variation of the TRNGs is mitigated by 110 times, and the generated bitstream of the tuned TRNGs passes the National Institute of Standards and Technology – Statistical Test Suite. For the proof of concept, the proposed TRNG circuit was fabricated and tuned. The characterization results of the tuned TRNGs prove that the TRNGs generate random bitstreams at the supply voltage of down to 0.5 V. Hence, the proposed TRNG design is suitable to secure low-power applications in this domain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1485-1495
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Additive manufacturing
  • additive tuning
  • electrolyte-gated transistors (EGT)
  • emerging technologies for computing
  • fabrication
  • inkjet-printing
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • low-power
  • printed electronics (PE)
  • process variation
  • security
  • true random number generator (TRNG)

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