Hardware functional obfuscation with ferroelectric active interconnects

Tongguang Yu, Yixin Xu, Shan Deng, Zijian Zhao, Nicolas Jao, You Sung Kim, Stefan Duenkel, Sven Beyer, Kai Ni, Sumitha George, Vijaykrishnan Narayanan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Existing circuit camouflaging techniques to prevent reverse engineering increase circuit-complexity 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. By utilizing the threshold voltage programmability of the FeFETs, run-time reconfigurable inverter-buffer logic, utilizing two FeFETs and an inverter, is enabled. Judicious placement of the proposed logic makes it act as a hardware encryption key and enable encoding and decoding of the functional output without affecting the critical path timing delay. Additionally, a peripheral programming scheme for reconfigurable logic by reusing the existing scan chain logic is proposed, 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2235
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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