What is QDID?
At the core of device security is the root of trust – a unique device identity that identifies a system when deployed, and that cannot be counterfeited, hacked or breached.
QDID stands for Quantum-Driven Identity. Each QDID chip's atomic structure is unique from the point of silicon manufacture. Measuring and authenticating at quantum-level forms the basis of unique device identity and unbeatable security.
Other hardware and physical unclonable functions (PUFs) can't offer full security. Electronic devices are vulnerable to hacks, side-channel attacks and counterfeiting. Chips are resource-intensive to fabricate and manufacture (silicon space, energy, tests, costs) and still penetrable. They require secret key injection for authentication, which is risky, costly, complex and error-prone.
But a unique, silicon-based identity can secure billions of IoT devices without these risks. By harnessing quantum effects to create unforgeable identities and originate independent, tamper-proof cryptographic keys on demand, QDID is by far the safest model of chip security.
What's more, QDID connects with QuarkLink for unbeatable end-to-end security. Quantum techniques will soon render alternate PUFs obsolete.
Why use QDID?
Other PUFs and hardware security devices are penetrable. Ours is uncrackable. QDID's benefits provide fast scale and end-to-end security:
Genuine randomness – High-entropy quantum effects make number generation unpredictable and identity truly unique
Generates multiple keys – Easily authenticate devices with different personas or change the function of existing keys (repurposing devices or changing ownership)
Plug-and-play – Easy integration in standard CMOS
Zero-touch – No secret key injection or secure storage needed
Tamper-proof – Due to unique atomic structure, quantum processes and high quality industry circuitry, sabotage is no longer a threat
Cost-effective – Improves silicon ROI, lowering overhead and accelerating scale
End-to-end security – Unique identity provides key management that secures every touchpoint of your IoT network
QDID passes intensive industry-standard tests
QDID has proven to be impervious to glitches, temperature attacks, array aging, remanence decay and tampering. QDID has passed rigorous tests over voltage, temperature and process nodes in accordance with the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST).
How quantum tunnelling works
At the atomic level, electrons can behave both as particles and waves, and objects can be in different states at once. Particles can pass through energy barriers they don’t have the energy to surmount. The barrier thickness has to be infinitesimally small, around 1/40,000 the width of a human hair, for this phenomenon to occur. This is quantum tunnelling.
These dimensions occur readily in the transistors of CPUs in a laptop or smartphone. Transistors are like switches, controlled by applying electric current to its gate terminals. There's an insulating oxide layer several nanometres thick between gate and the rest of the device where electrons can tunnel through to create an infinitesimal electric current. The way transistors are manufactured makes it impossible to perfectly reproduce these oxide layers at the atomic level, creating a tiny yet measurable difference in a gate's leakage current.
The basis of QDID’s security is in the accurate and repeatable measurement of these gate tunnelling currents. The atomic structure of the transistors becomes the chip’s unique fingerprint, and is therefore unforgeable and unpredictable, even for a quantum computer.
Classical (over the barrier) motion vs quantum (through the barrier) motion. (CC BY-NC 4.0; Ümit Kaya).
Atomic variability for unforgeable identity
The accompanying illustration represents the oxide layer fluctuations that arise from transistor manufacturing variations.
Even a slight layer variation creates a detectable change in tunnelling current. These minute currents require state-of-the-art measuring techniques (using picoamps or 10^-12 Amps) comparable to measuring the distance between Earth and Pluto with 1-metre accuracy.
The imperfections and random nature of the atomic positions of the oxide and surrounding layers create unique devices. Simulating these structures for forgery would take vast computing power unachievable in our lifetime – even with a quantum computer.
A typical QDID array contains hundreds of transistor pairs whose gate currents demonstrate huge variability. These data provide the physical identity to enable end-to-end security in connected devices. This is a patented technology that no other semiconductor company uses for security verification and unique identity generation.
Oxide surface roughness variation
C. L. Alexander and A. Asenov, "Statistical MOSFET current variation due to variation in surface roughness scattering," 2011 International Conference on Simulation of Semiconductor Processes and Devices, Osaka, 2011, pp. 275-278, doi: 10.1109.