Plant DNA vs. Counterfeit Chips

A genetic mark might help keep counterfeit components out of the electronics supply chain

3 min read
Photo of Applied DNA Sciences chip.
Real Deal: Applied DNA Sciences uses a genetic marker to authenticate chips and other products.
Photo: Applied DNA Sciences

3 May 2012—Increasingly concerned about counterfeit electronics in its supply chain, the U.S. Department of Defense is attacking the problem on two fronts: It’s cracking down on defense contractors to increase their vigilance, and it’s looking for new technologies to fight the counterfeiters.

A leading new technology in the struggle against counterfeiters comes from an odd source: plants. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), which procures materials and parts for the U.S. military, is working with Applied DNA Sciences, in Stony Brook, N.Y., which has developed a technique that uses plant DNA to authenticate chips and other components. Other industries currently use the technology to authenticate luxury goods, textiles, and currency.

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3D-Stacked CMOS Takes Moore’s Law to New Heights

When transistors can’t get any smaller, the only direction is up

10 min read
An image of stacked squares with yellow flat bars through them.
Emily Cooper

Perhaps the most far-reaching technological achievement over the last 50 years has been the steady march toward ever smaller transistors, fitting them more tightly together, and reducing their power consumption. And yet, ever since the two of us started our careers at Intel more than 20 years ago, we’ve been hearing the alarms that the descent into the infinitesimal was about to end. Yet year after year, brilliant new innovations continue to propel the semiconductor industry further.

Along this journey, we engineers had to change the transistor’s architecture as we continued to scale down area and power consumption while boosting performance. The “planar” transistor designs that took us through the last half of the 20th century gave way to 3D fin-shaped devices by the first half of the 2010s. Now, these too have an end date in sight, with a new gate-all-around (GAA) structure rolling into production soon. But we have to look even further ahead because our ability to scale down even this new transistor architecture, which we call RibbonFET, has its limits.

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