Zero Power/Ultra Low Power Tamper Detection Sensors

Period of Performance: 02/07/2011 - 08/07/2011


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Starfire Industries, LLC
2109 South Oak Street Array
Champaign, IL 61820
Principal Investigator


This Small Business Innovative Research Phase I project will investigate no-power sensors to enable self-protection mechanisms to prevent an adversary from accessing or reverse engineering sensitive military electronics containing critical program information (CPI). Due to the wide number of threat channels and intrusion modalities, innovative approaches on anti-tamper (AT) sensor technology are needed to counter a capable adversary with a strong reverse-engineering technology base. One area of focus highlighted by DoD is the development of zero-power/ultra-low-power tampering/reverse-engineering sensor technologies for use at the printed circuit board level, or integrated circuit level. Here the motivation is to detect intrusion prior to product teardown where an adversary can perform system level analyses and extract CPI. Since military hardware will typically be enclosed in a tamper-proof container or encapsulation, an adversary will need to develop a depot strategy to extract the circuit board and/or on-board CPI components while avoiding or negating AT hardware at the packaging level. This is typically accomplished with a non-destructive, non-invasive scan of the hardware using x-ray analysis. New non-destructive imaging techniques are emerging that can defeat x-ray AT mechanisms. This Phase I proposal is aimed at developing new AT techniques to counter these threats.