The Tezzblog

Can you trust your chips?

How trustworthy is an integrated circuit?  That depends.  Who designed it?  Who built it?  Whose software was embedded in it?  Whose hands were on it during the whole process?  Could confidential functionality have been compromised along the way?

Chips that are implemented in critical systems need a very high degree of trustworthiness.  Split-fab processing helps ensure the security of such chips.  “Split-fab” means that the chips are started in one fabrication facility (“fab”) and finished in another.  In the case of 3D-ICs, circuitry can be built in “non-Trusted” locations because the function of a single layer is not apparent until after it is stacked together with the other layers.  The cryptic nature of the separate layers guards against decoding, modification, or compromise.  As long as the final stacking is performed at a Trusted foundry, like Novati Technologies’ Austin facility, the finished 3D-IC is secure.

At the Microelectronics Reliability & Qualification Working Meeting (MRQWM), Tezzaron detailed this process in a presentation: “Update on 2.5/3D Integration and Trusted Split-Fab Processing