Gain-switched VCSEL as a quantum entropy source: the problem of quantum and classical noise

Physical optics

We consider the problem of quantum noise extraction from polarization swapping in a gain-switched VCSEL. The principle of operation of a quantum random number generator is based on the generation of laser pulses with one of two orthogonal polarization states, followed by digitization of polarization-resolved pulses with a comparator. At intensity values of laser pulses close to the threshold value of the comparator, the contribution of the classical noise of the photodetector will have a crucial role in making a decision on the choice of a logical zero or one. We show how to evaluate the contribution of classical noise and how to calculate the quantum reduction factor required for post-processing.