Silhouette - Silicon Photonics for trusted electronic components

Silhouette - Silicon Photonics for trusted electronic components

Project duration: 2021-2024

© Fraunhofer IPMS
Close-up of the experimental setup.

There is much research worldwide on how to enhance the security of IoT devices to protect sensitive data from misuse by third parties. Building on this, the Silhouette project is looking at trusted electronic devices and their manufacturing. The aim of the consortium is to make silicon-based photonic technologies for security solutions accessible to open processor systems as a standardized, modular platform solution. This is done by converting safety-critical electrical signals into optical signals, to further process or validate them and finally to convert them back. Photonic transmission channels alone offer the advantage of being virtually tamper- and tap-proof.

The project covers the entire value chain: from the design of the electrical and optical components, through manufacturing, assembly and interconnection technology, to testing and inspection. The intended electro-optical (E/O) platform solution will be a European one in order to ensure technological sovereignty and trustworthiness in the design and manufacturing process.

In the project, the developed technology packages and the expertise of all partners are presented via demonstrators in a relevant integration density on the basis of concrete use cases. Thus, the functionality of the electro-optical platform is demonstrated in a fully comprehensive and already reusable way.

Fraunhofer IPMS contributes its experience in the field of integration of especially energy-saving components for IoT applications. Furthermore, three different concepts of a quantum cryptographically secure key generator based on cryptographic multimode interferometers (k-MMI) will be evaluated with respect to their performance, security and risks. With the most suitable concept, a k-MMI component will be fabricated and its functional proof will be provided by cryptographic analysis methods. In addition, the development of open RISC-V peripheral components on the electronic side will be implemented at the institute. The focus is on digital as well as analog control and evaluation of the photonic extensions.

In collaboration with: