The integrated circuit (IC) is a core component of many electronic systems developed for the Department of Defense. However, the DoD consumes a very small percentage of the total IC production in the world. As a result of the globalization of the IC marketplace, much of the advanced IC production has moved to offshore foundries, and these parts make up the majority of ICs used in today’s military systems.
Without the ability to influence and regulate the off-shore fabrication of ICs, there is a risk that parts acquired for DoD systems may not meet stated specifications for performance and reliability. This risk increases considerably with the proliferation of counterfeit ICs in the marketplace, as well as the potential for the introduction of malicious circuits into a design.
Through the IRIS program, DARPA seeks to develop techniques that will provide system developers the ability to derive the function of digital, analog and mixed-signal ICs non-destructively, given limited operational specifications. These techniques will include advanced imaging and device recognition of deep sub-micron CMOS circuits, as well as computational methods to solve the NP-complete problem of determining device connectivity.
Finally, the IRIS program will produce innovative methods of device modeling and analytic processes to determine the reliability of an IC by testing a limited number of samples. The current understanding of IC aging mechanisms, including negative bias temperature instability (NBTI), hot carrier injection (HCI), time dependent dielectric breakdown (TDDB) and Electromigration (EM) will be leveraged to develop unique diagnostic test techniques.
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