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Cybersecurity: chips individually marked by e-beam lithography

A new maskless multi-beam electron lithography machine* can individually mark unique codes onto thousands of chips on the same wafer. The massively-parallel technique provides chip-marking throughputs compatible with industrial manufacturing.

Published on 22 May 2018

​A machine* that can individually mark unique security codes on an electronic chip's metal interconnects during fabrication was presented at the SPIE Advanced Lithography 2018** conference. The platform is being developed by Netherlands-based equipment manufacturer Mapper Lithography BV in partnership with Leti. The prototype maskless multi-beam electron lithography machine is compatible with standard 40 nm CMOS technology and can be adapted to technologies down to 28 nm on 200 mm and 300 mm wafers.

Unlike standard optical exposure tools (optical scanners with masks), which reproduce the same pattern on the entire wafer, this new maskless system allows each chip to be marked individually. It leverages a rapid direct write process that uses 49 x 1,362 electron beams simultaneously. This makes it possible to pre-set as many different security codes as needed with good production throughputs.

This innovation will make e-beam lithography marking an attractive industrial option for cybersecurity, traceability, and anti-counterfeiting applications. Several manufacturers have already expressed interest in testing the encryption method on their wafers.


**Proc. SPIE 10584, 1058411 (2018)

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