How Voltage-Controlled MRAM Devices Can Be Used To Create Unique Fingerprints Of Microelectronic Chips


A technical paper titled “Reconfigurable Physically Unclonable Functions Based on Nanoscale Voltage-Controlled Magnetic Tunnel Junctions” was published by researchers at Northwestern University, Western Digital Corporation, Fe Research Inc., and University of Messina.


“With the fast growth of the number of electronic devices on the internet of things (IoT), hardware-based security primitives such as physically unclonable functions (PUFs) have emerged to overcome the shortcomings of conventional software-based cryptographic technology. Existing PUFs exploit manufacturing process variations in a semiconductor foundry technology. This results in a static challenge-response behavior, which can present a long-term security risk. This study shows a reconfigurable PUF based on nanoscale magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) arrays that uses stochastic dynamics induced by voltage-controlled magnetic anisotropy (VCMA) for true random bit generation. A total of 100 PUF instances are implemented using 10 ns voltage pulses on a single chip with a 10 × 10 MTJ array. The unipolar nature of the VCMA mechanism is exploited to stabilize the MTJ state and eliminate bit errors during readout. All PUF instances show entropy close to one, inter-Hamming distance close to 50%, and no bit errors in 104 repeated readout measurements.”

Find the technical paper here. Published: June 2023.

Shao, Yixin, Noraica Davila, Farbod Ebrahimi, Jordan A. Katine, Giovanni Finocchio, and Pedram Khalili Amiri. “Reconfigurable Physically Unclonable Functions Based on Nanoscale Voltage‐Controlled Magnetic Tunnel Junctions.” Advanced Electronic Materials (2023): 2300195.

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Physically Unclonable Functions (PUFs) Knowledge Center

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