29 Oct 2021 -
 Defence

‘Doping’ to combat counterfeit electronics

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) joins the race to thwart a new crop of counterfeiters who are trying to take advantage of the current global chip shortage, writes Source Today.

“Using a technique called ‘doping’, NIST scientists use small clusters of ‘foreign’ atoms of a different element from those in the device. Those foreign atoms are implanted just beneath the surface and alter the electrical properties of the topmost layer without harming it, creating a unique label that can be read by an electronic scanner,” reports the article.

The implanted atoms alter the arrangement of silicon atoms just beneath the surface of the wafer. These silicon atoms, as well as those that reside throughout the wafer, are arranged in a repeating geometric pattern known as a lattice. Each silicon lattice acts like an electrical circuit with a certain impedance, the AC (alternating current) equivalent of resistance in a DC (direct current) circuit, according to the NIST.

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