Hardware Functional Obfuscation With Ferroelectric Active Interconnects

by   Tonggunag Yu, et al.

Camouflaging gate techniques are typically used in hardware security to prevent reverse engineering. Layout level camouflaging by adding dummy contacts ensures some level of protection against extracting the correct netlist. Threshold voltage manipulation for multi-functional logic with identical layouts has also been introduced for functional obfuscation. All these techniques are implemented at the expense of circuit-complexity and with significant area, energy, and delay penalty. In this paper, we propose an efficient hardware encryption technique with minimal complexity and overheads based on ferroelectric field-effect transistor (FeFET) active interconnects. The active interconnect provides run-time reconfigurable inverter-buffer logic by utilizing the threshold voltage programmability of the FeFETs. Our method utilizes only two FeFETs and an inverter to realize the masking function compared to recent reconfigurable logic gate implementations using several FeFETs and complex differential logic. We fabricate the proposed circuit and demonstrate the functionality. Judicious placement of the proposed logic in the IC makes it acts as a hardware encryption key and enables encoding and decoding of the functional output without affecting the critical path timing delay. Also, we achieve comparable encryption probability with a limited number of encryption units. In addition, we show a peripheral programming scheme for reconfigurable logic by reusing the existing scan chain logic, hence obviating the need for specialized programming logic and circuitry for keybit distribution. Our analysis shows an average encryption probability of 97.43% with an increase of 2.24%/ 3.67% delay for the most critical path/ sum of 100 critical paths delay for ISCAS85 benchmarks.


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