Marking of Components for Avoidance of Counterfeit Parts
Counterfeit parts, by definition are substandard, which compromises long life-cycle systems overseen by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). Recent investigations by the Senate Armed Services Committee uncovered 1800 cases of suspected counterfeit electronic parts, with the total number of counterfeit parts exceeding 1,000,000. Putative solutions to the counterfeit electronics problem include both inspection technologies and authentication solutions, but these stop short of providing 100% assurance of authenticity, and often require extensive operator expertise and training. Authentication solutions which involve application of a taggant material and enrollment into secure database are available, with 13 different tags on the market. However, no secure tagging solution has been widely adopted in the electronics industry. This is attributed primarily to lack of flexibility for different microelectronic product types and processes, and a lack of consensus from end users on authentication solutions,. Furthermore, none of the existing authentication solutions are capable of identifying used products fraudulently represented as new. To address this need, the Quantitative Optical Tracking system performs rapid, inexpensive, nondestructive two factor authentication based on two identifying markers: 1) intrinsic micron-scale optical surface characteristics of electronic components, and 2) an applied taggant pattern which is permanent, cost-effective, and suitable for DoD production hardware.
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