Molecular-scale hardware encryption using tunable self-assembled nanoelectronic networks




Venkataraman, Anusha
Amadi, Eberechukwu
Papadopoulos, Chris

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Nanomaterials are promising alternatives for creating hardware security primitives that are considered more robust and less susceptible to physical attacks compared to standard CMOS-based approaches. Here, nanoscale electronic circuits composed of tunable ratios of molecules and colloidal nanoparticles formed via self-assembly on silicon wafers are investigated for information and hardware security by utilizing device-level physical variations induced during fabrication. Two-terminal electronic transport measurements show variations in current through different parts of the nanoscale network, which are used to define electronic physically unclonable functions. By comparing different current paths, arrays of binary bits are generated that can be used as encryption keys. Evaluation of the keys using Hamming inter-distance values indicates that performance is improved by varying the ratio of molecules to nanoparticles in the network, which demonstrates self-assembly as a potential path toward implementing molecular-scale hardware security primitives. These nanoelectronic networks thus combine facile fabrication with a large variety of possible network building blocks, enabling their utilization for hardware security with additional degrees of freedom that is difficult to achieve using conventional systems.



nanomaterials, self-assembly, hardware security, physically unclonable functions


Venkataraman, A., Amadi, E., & Papadopoulos, C. (2022). “Molecular-scale hardware encryption using tunable self-assembled nanoelectronic networks.” Micro, 2(3), 361-368.