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R&D project creates networking platform for trustworthy electronics

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Within the framework of the research project “Velektronik”, a networking platform for trustworthy electronics is to be created for Germany, which will create secure value chains as an interface between research and companies. To this end, the cooperation partners from the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and Leibniz Association in the Research Factory Microelectronics Germany (FMD) will work together with the R&D centre edacentrum over the next three years on solution concepts for trustworthy electronics in all areas of electronics development and production.

A future-oriented society depends on electronic components in all relevant technical application domains – whether in critical infrastructures, in Industry 4.0, in the automotive sector or even in medical devices. People must be able to rely on these in order to build trustworthy products, systems and infrastructure on them. “Technological sovereignty means that, against the backdrop of a strongly internationalised value creation, we retain sovereignty over which concrete properties the electronic components of our products have,” emphasises Johann Heyszl, head of the Hardware Security department at Fraunhofer AISEC and technical leader of the research project, adding: “This sustainably secures the innovation and competitiveness of German companies, especially SMEs.”

Electronics are trustworthy when they meet all expectations of functionality and at the same time leave no backdoors or vulnerabilities open to attackers and manipulation. This is where the planned platform comes in. It will take into account the entire value chain in order to deliver concrete solution concepts for trustworthy electronics. To this end, the partners will focus on creating a technological overview, making contributions to the necessary standardisation and building up the network of research and industry as well as the ultimate know-how.

Within the project, the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) is working on the trustworthy production of electronic components, so-called “split manufacturing”. This is the approach of having a chip processed and assembled by different foundries. For example, the construction of the CMOS backplane can be detached from the MEMS production. In terms of trustworthy electronics, it is important to protect the IP of the individual components, to maintain interfaces and functionalities and yet to provide security features in hardware and software.

The Velektronik platform is coordinated by the office of the Forschungsfabrik Mikroelektronik Deutschland. The overall coordination is carried out by the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied and Integrated Security AISEC. The results of the project can subsequently be used within the platform, for further research projects and, above all, by industry. A direct practical relevance as well as a strong industrial relevance and acceptance are ensured through an industry advisory board.

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Photo © Fraunhofer IPMS

https://www.ipms.fraunhofer.de/en.html

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