Trustworthy electronics through ceramic thick-film technology and LTCC multilayer technology


© Fraunhofer IKTS
Trusted electronic components and tamper protection through ceramic hardware solutions.

In today's digital world, electronic counterfeiting and manipulation pose a major threat to the sovereignty of companies and business locations – often accompanied by significant economic losses – as well as to the security of society.

The key to trustworthy electronics is secure knowledge of the origin and function of the electronic system. This requires that components and supply and value chains can be traced and that (sub)systems are not copied or influenced by third parties. Together with partners from industry, Fraunhofer IKTS is developing innovative hardware-based ceramic solutions for integrated structures to secure the trustworthiness of electronic systems in the BMBF-funded project "VE-CeraTrust" (No. 16ME0331). On the one hand, these are intended to ensure unique identification of assemblies and subsystems during production and application, and on the other hand to enable modular protective functions and barriers that make it difficult or impossible to manipulate the electronic system and its subcomponents (components, assemblies and subsystems) that require protection.

The technological core of the project is ceramic LTCC multilayer technology (Low-Temperature Cofired Ceramics), which due to its specific material properties is already established in robust electronic assemblies or in safety-critical areas such as automotive, aerospace, telecommunications and medical technology. In "VE-CeraTrust", technological setup concepts are to be tested and inherently enhanced with specific protection functions:

  • Compared to the security features of banknotes, both obvious and hidden structures are developed in a modular way, which in combination ensure a one-to-one tamper-proof identification.
  • To protect against tampering and reverse engineering, modular substrate-integrated barriers are being developed that impede third-party analysis of the system, detect tampering based on sensors, and protect safety-critical IP or components in the system from fraudulent manipulation if required.
© Fraunhofer IKTS
Schematic representation of the pursued modular identification and protection functions in VE CeraTrust.

Services offered

  • Develop customized identifiers to create trusted value chains via LTCC and thick-film technology
  • Development of integrated structures for protection against reverse engineering and manipulation of ceramic-based electronic components
  • Analysis and verification of identification and protection structures

Funding: BMBF

Project period: May 2021 bis April 2024

Projectpartners: VIA electronic GmbH, IMST GmbH, KMS Technology Center GmbH, ANDUS ELECTRONIC GmbH

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