Paper 2014/749

Bitline PUF: Building Native Challenge-Response PUF Capability into Any SRAM

Daniel E. Holcomb and Kevin Fu


Physical Unclonable Functions (PUFs) are specialized circuits with applications including key generation and challenge-response authentication. PUF properties such as low cost and resistance to invasive attacks make PUFs well-suited to embedded devices. Yet, given how infrequently the specialized capabilities of a PUF may be needed, the silicon area dedicated to it is largely idle. This inefficient resource usage is at odds with the cost minimization objective of embedded devices. Motivated by this inefficiency, we propose the Bitline PUF -- a novel PUF that uses modified wordline drivers together with SRAM circuitry to enable challenge-response authentication. The number of challenges that can be applied to the Bitline PUF grows exponentially with the number of SRAM rows, and these challenges can be applied at any time without power cycling. This paper presents in detail the workings of the Bitline PUF, and shows that it achieves high throughput, low latency, and uniqueness across instances. Circuit simulations indicate that the Bitline PUF responses have a nominal bit-error-rate (BER) of 0.023 at 1.2 V supply and 27C, and that BER does not exceed 0.076 when supply voltage is varied from 1.1 V to 1.3 V, or when temperature is varied from 0C to 80C. Because the Bitline PUF leverages existing SRAM circuitry, its area overhead is only a single flip-flop and two logic gates per row of SRAM. The combination of high performance and low cost makes the Bitline PUF a promising candidate for commercial adoption and future research.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Published by the IACR in CHES 2014
Contact author(s)
danholcomb @ umich edu
2014-09-26: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Daniel E.  Holcomb and Kevin Fu},
      title = {Bitline PUF: Building Native Challenge-Response PUF Capability into Any SRAM},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2014/749},
      year = {2014},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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