Newell named Los Alamos’ Battelle Inventor of the Year

Scientist recognized for quantum research applied to cryptosystems

July 2, 2024

Raymond Newell, left, receives an award from Lou Von Thaer, president and CEO of Battelle.

Raymond Newell, a research scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, was recently named Battelle’s Inventor of the Year for Los Alamos. The annual award recognizes inventors from Battelle and from Battelle-managed laboratories, including Brookhaven National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Newell was honored in May at the Celebration of Solvers ceremony at Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio.

“Ray’s work across quantum technologies, including on the Quantum Random Number Generator, has set a high standard for innovation and opened up new areas around using quantum technology for information protection and more,” said Michael Rabin, quantum group leader at Los Alamos. “In an area of critical importance for national security and our economy, Ray has developed effective solutions, demonstrating ingenuity, creativity, and persistence.”

Newell’s recognition stems in large part from his development of the Quantum Random Number Generator, a device that generates random numbers from quantum fluctuations in the intensity of an optical source. Capable of generating 200 megabits per second or more of true random numbers, the groundbreaking technology has commercial applications, including cybersecurity and energy grid security. In collaboration with Newell, the company Qrypt, Inc., has licensed the number generator to create high-quality random keys at scale.

The leader of the quantum communications system team at Los Alamos, Newell’s research interests span the broad range of quantum information sciences for national security. He has helped develop the Smart Electric Grid, a new approach for power security that uses single particles of light for encryption and authentication for grid security. Newell is also the chief optical scientist for the SuperCam Body Unit, a suite of remote sensing instruments aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars.

A research scientist who joined the Laboratory in 2004, Newell holds a doctoral degree in atomic, molecular, and optical physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.