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On the Design and Misuse of Microcoded (Embedded) Processors — A Cautionary Note


Abstract:  "Today's microprocessors often rely on microcode updates to address issues such as security or functional patches. Unfortunately, microcode update flexibility opens up new attack vectors through malicious microcode alterations. Such attacks share many features with hardware Trojans and have similar devastating consequences for system security. However, due to microcode's opaq... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: June 29


Speeding up ALD with AI The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory has developed various ways to make atomic layer deposition (ALD) more efficient by using artificial intelligence (AI). ALD is a deposition technique that deposits materials one layer at a time on chips. For years, ALD has been used for the production of DRAMs, logic devices and other products. In ... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: March 24


Autonomous microscopes FLEET, also known as the ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies, has developed an autonomous scanning probe microscopy (SPM) technology. SPM is an instrument that makes use of an atomically sharp probe. The probe is placed in close proximity above the surface of a sample. With the probe, the SPM forms images of the surface of the sample... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Jan. 28


Fast photography The California Institute of Technology has developed a high-speed camera that can take pictures of transparent objects. The technology, called phase-sensitive compressed ultrafast photography (pCUP), can take up to 1 trillion pictures per second of transparent objects. Potentially, the technology from Caltech could be used in several applications, such as taking photos of s... » read more

System Bits: Jan. 16


Nitrogen-atom-sized sensors A new quantum sensor developed by Fraunhofer researchers will be able to measure the tiny magnetic fields of the next generation of hard discs, leveraging the new opportunities that quantum technology promises. [caption id="attachment_430671" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The special ellipsoid form of the plasma reactor developed at Fraunhofer IAF allows for l... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Dec. 19


Stabilizing perovskites Scientists at EPFL and the University of Cordoba found a way to improve the stability of perovskite solar cells. While perovskites show promising efficiencies as solar cells, they are soft crystalline materials and prone to problems due to decomposition over time. By introducing the large organic cation guanidinium (CH6N3+) into methylammonium lead iodide perovskites, t... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Oct. 31


Tiny jet engines The Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems has developed the world´s smallest jet engine. Samuel Sánchez, a researcher from the Stuttgart, Germany-based R&D organization, officially received the Guinness World Record certification for the smallest nanotube travelling through fluid. The technology makes use of propulsion, which resembles the characteristics of a ... » read more

System Bits: Oct. 31


Software enables cars to auto-report diagnostics Thanks to researchers at MIT, it may soon be possible to hop into a ride-share car, glance at a smartphone app, and tell the driver that the car’s left front tire needs air, its air filter should be replaced next week, and its engine needs two new spark plugs. [caption id="attachment_409967" align="alignnone" width="300"] A new smartphone a... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Aug. 22


Weighing protons The Max Planck Institute and Riken have conducted the world’s most precise measurement of the mass of a proton. Based on an experiment, researchers determined that the mass of a proton is 1.007276466583(15)(29) atomic mass units. This is three times more precise than the previous measurements from others. The numbers in parentheses refer to the statistical and systematic ... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Jan. 17


Creating magnets with electricity Researchers at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Korea Institute of Materials Science, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Max Planck Institute, and the University of New South Wales drew magnetic squares in a nonmagnetic material with an electrified pen and then "read" this magneti... » read more

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