SBIR Phase I: Zero-Remanence Tamper-Responsive Cryptokey Memory
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
11409 Valley View Road, Eden Prairie, MN, 55344
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project will develop an innovative non-volatile spintronic cryptographic key memory that can self-erase without data remanence in the event of tampering and without applied power. Magnetic Random Access Memory (MRAM) is the only technology with potential for this capability. Anti-tamper MRAM could be a major paradigm shift - memories used in ICs presently must be erased by overwriting or disconnection of a power source when tampering is detected. Research objectives include a micromagnetic study of MRAM bit shapes to eliminate data remanence after DC field erasure, finite elements simulation of the integrated system to determine optimal magnet/shield/die configurations, fabrication of spintronic anti-tamper memory cells, and red team analysis of the integrated device. This work will be accomplished through use of spin-dependent tunneling fabrication and simulation resources. The anticipated result is a 1 kbit anti-tamper embedded MRAM design and feasibility analysis. Commercially, this provides an extra layer of protection on IC-based assemblies such as smart cards, cash machines etc. In addition, the proposed program will render a system inoperable in the event of physical tamper. This will be a very useful tool in stemming the tide of fraudulent usage or compromises of IC-based instruments as well as certain types of identify theft. Certain groups have targeted various research organizations and attempted to otherwise compromise their research through attacks on their computer systems. This would provide additional protection to the data. Identity theft has become a very large issue for society in general and particularly in the more computerized societies.
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