Nano meets security: Exploring nanoelectronic devices for security applications

Jeyavijayan Rajendran, Ramesh Karri, James B. Wendt, Miodrag Potkonjak, Nathan Mcdonald, Garrett S. Rose, Bryant Wysocki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Information security has emerged as an important system and application metric. Classical security solutions use algorithmic mechanisms that address a small subset of emerging security requirements, often at high-energy and performance overhead. Further, emerging side-channel and physical attacks can compromise classical security solutions. Hardware security solutions overcome many of these limitations with less energy and performance overhead. Nanoelectronics-based hardware security preserves these advantages while enabling conceptually new security primitives and applications. This tutorial paper shows how one can develop hardware security primitives by exploiting the unique characteristics such as complex device and system models, bidirectional operation, and nonvolatility of emerging nanoelectronic devices. This paper then explains the security capabilities of several emerging nanoelectronic devices: memristors, resistive random-access memory, contact-resistive random-access memory, phase change memories, spin torque-transfer random-access memory, orthogonal spin transfer random access memory, graphene, carbon nanotubes, silicon nanowire field-effect transistors, and nanoelectronic mechanical switches. Further, the paper describes hardware security primitives for authentication, key generation, data encryption, device identification, digital forensics, tamper detection, and thwarting reverse engineering. Finally, the paper summarizes the outstanding challenges in using emerging nanoelectronic devices for security.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)829-849
Number of pages21
JournalProceedings of the IEEE
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Emerging technologies
  • PCMs
  • hardware security
  • memristors
  • physical unclonable functions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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