STARSS: Small: Collaborative: Physical Design for Secure Split Manufacturing of ICs Grant uri icon


  • The trend of outsourcing semiconductor manufacturing to oversea foundries has introduced several security vulnerabilities -- reverse engineering, malicious circuit insertion, counterfeiting, and intellectual property piracy -- making the semiconductor industry lose billions of dollars. Split manufacturing of integrated circuits reduces vulnerabilities introduced by an untrusted foundry by manufacturing only some of the layers at an untrusted high-end foundry and the remaining layers at a trusted low-end foundry. An attacker in the untrusted foundry has access only to an incomplete design, and therefore cannot easily pirate or insert Trojans into it. However, split manufacturing alone is not sufficiently secure, and naïve security enhancement techniques incur tremendous power, area, and delay overhead. The goal of this research is to develop new physical-design techniques that can ensure security through split manufacturing and simultaneously minimize the overhead on performance, power and area of semiconductor products.This research lays the foundations for a comprehensive set of physical design tools for security. Its expected outcomes are: 1) Systematic techniques for modeling attacks that recover the missing parts of the design from the information available to the attacker; 2) Security metrics to assess the strength of integrated circuit designs by measuring the difficulty for an attacker to reverse engineer the design in the context of split manufacturing; 3) Active defenses through physical designs techniques such as cell layout, placement perturbation and rerouting designs to increase security; 4) Techniques to reduce the overhead of secure split manufacturing and make the security enhancement seamlessly compatible with existing design flows.

date/time interval

  • 2016 - 2020