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Tamper-Resistant Unique ID number based on Alpha Decay

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000236455D
Publication Date: 2014-Apr-28
Document File: 2 page(s) / 62K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method to produce a tamper-resistant unique ID (UID) number based on Alpha Decay. The method comprises a decaying alpha source, a unique filter, and a series of alpha detectors to create a UID.

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Tamper-

-Resistant Unique ID number based on Alpha Decay

Resistant Unique ID number based on Alpha Decay

When establishing TRUST during the operating lifetime , each die must be identified as both unique and authentic. This identification (ID) must be confirmed locally and/or remotely during the chip's lifetime.

The novel contribution is a method to produce a tamper -resistant unique ID (UID) number based on Alpha Decay. The method comprises a decaying alpha source, a unique filter, and a series of alpha detectors to create a UID . The source interacts with the detectors (e.g., Static Random Access Memory (SRAM) cells). Thus, if an outside entity tampers with any component (e.g., the source, the filter, or the detector), the detector changes at a different rate than expected ; therefore, the ID is changed. This change becomes a permanent mark that indicates that the chip experienced tampering .

This idea consists of using an alpha source in conjunction with a detector comprised of
a memory block (e.g., an SRAM or other low stored charge memory cells). The emitted alpha particles can cause memory bits to flip as a function of time in what is known as soft error, or single event upset (SEU). The alpha particle source could be, for example, a film described by a well-defined alpha particle energy spectrum and a characteristic half-life. The alpha particle source flux and energy spectrum could be accurately measured soon after deposition to establish the initial particle flux conditions . Depending on the material chosen, one would then be able to accurately predict the particle flux as a function of time using well-established radioactive decay functions. So far, this is a rather straightforward technique to generate a random pattern of failures in a memory array. However, one could further randomize the failure signature using an intermediate film deposited directly on top of the memory cell . This intermediate film, ideally, is composed of two components with widely varying alpha particle absorption properties, thus creating regions (channels) above the memory array where the incoming flux of alpha particles varies spatially in a designed fashion . In this manner, one would establish a reproducible dynamic in the memory state that would be very difficult (if not impossible) to duplicate and therefore has the potential to be used as a secure identification number. Furthermore, this would be tamper-resistant since any film delayering would immediately alter the memory array failure pattern generated , thereby aler...