Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Himanshu Thapliyal


Smart computing devices are miniaturized electronics devices that can sense their surroundings, communicate, and share information autonomously with other devices to work cohesively. Smart devices have played a major role in improving quality of the life and boosting the global economy. They are ubiquitously present, smart home, smart city, smart girds, industry, healthcare, controlling the hazardous environment, and military, etc. However, we have witnessed an exponential rise in potential threat vectors and physical attacks in recent years. The conventional software-based security approaches are not suitable in the smart computing device, therefore, hardware-enabled security solutions have emerged as an attractive choice. Developing hardware security primitives, such as True Random Number Generator (TRNG) and Physically Unclonable Function (PUF) from electrical properties of the sensor could be a novel research direction. Secondly, the Lightweight Cryptographic (LWC) ciphers used in smart computing devices are found vulnerable against Correlation Power Analysis (CPA) attack. The CPA performs statistical analysis of the power consumption of the cryptographic core and reveals the encryption key. The countermeasure against CPA results in an increase in energy consumption, therefore, they are not suitable for battery operated smart computing devices.

The primary goal of this dissertation is to develop novel hardware security primitives from existing sensors and energy-efficient LWC circuit implementation with CPA resilience. To achieve these. we focus on developing TRNG and PUF from existing photoresistor and photovoltaic solar cell sensors in smart devices Further, we explored energy recovery computing (also known as adiabatic computing) circuit design technique that reduces the energy consumption compared to baseline CMOS logic design and same time increasing CPA resilience in low-frequency applications, e.g. wearable fitness gadgets, hearing aid and biomedical instruments. The first contribution of this dissertation is to develop a TRNG prototype from the uncertainty present in photoresistor sensors. The existing sensor-based TRNGs suffer a low random bit generation rate, therefore, are not suitable in real-time applications. The proposed prototype has an average random bit generation rate of 8 kbps, 32 times higher than the existing sensor-based TRNG. The proposed lightweight scrambling method results in random bit entropy close to ideal value 1. The proposed TRNG prototype passes all 15 statistical tests of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Statistical Test Suite with quality performance.

The second contribution of this dissertation is to develop an integrated TRNG-PUF designed using photovoltaic solar cell sensors. The TRNG and PUF are mutually independent in the way they are designed, therefore, integrating them as one architecture can be beneficial in resource-constrained computing devices. We propose a novel histogram-based technique to segregate photovoltaic solar cell sensor response suitable for TRNG and PUF respectively. The proposed prototype archives approximately 34\% improvement in TRNG output. The proposed prototype achieves an average of 92.13\% reliability and 50.91\% uniformity performance in PUF response. The proposed sensor-based hardware security primitives do not require additional interfacing hardware. Therefore, they can be ported as a software update on existing photoresistor and photovoltaic sensor-based devices. Furthermore, the sensor-based design approach can identify physically tempered and faulty sensor nodes during authentication as their response bit differs. The third contribution is towards the development of a novel 2-phase sinusoidal clocking implementation, 2-SPGAL for existing Symmetric Pass Gate Adiabatic Logic (SPGAL). The proposed 2-SPGAL logic-based LWC cipher PRESENT shows an average of 49.34\% energy saving compared to baseline CMOS logic implementation. Furthermore, the 2-SPGAL prototype has an average of 22.76\% better energy saving compared to 2-EE-SPFAL (2-phase Energy-Efficient-Secure Positive Feedback Adiabatic Logic). The proposed 2-SPGAL was tested for energy-efficiency performance for the frequency range of 50 kHz to 250 kHz, used in healthcare gadgets and biomedical instruments. The proposed 2-SPGAL based design saves 16.78\% transistor count compared to 2-EE-SPFAL counterpart. The final contribution is to explore Clocked CMOS Adiabatic Logic (CCAL) to design a cryptographic circuit. Previously proposed 2-SPGAL and 2-EE-SPFAL uses two complementary pairs of the transistor evaluation network, thus resulting in a higher transistor count compared to the CMOS counterpart. The CCAL structure is very similar to CMOS and unlike 2-SPGAL and 2-EE-SPFAL, it does not require discharge circuitry to improve security performance. The case-study implementation LWC cipher PRESENT S-Box using CCAL results into 45.74\% and 34.88\% transistor count saving compared to 2-EE-SPFAL and 2-SPGAL counterpart. Furthermore, the case-study implementation using CCAL shows more than 95\% energy saving compared to CMOS logic at frequency range 50 kHz to 125 kHz, and approximately 60\% energy saving at frequency 250 kHz. The case study also shows 32.67\% and 11.21\% more energy saving compared to 2-EE-SPFAL and 2-SPGAL respectively at frequency 250 kHz. We also show that 200 fF of tank capacitor in the clock generator circuit results in optimum energy and security performance in CCAL.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This work was supported by National Science Foundation grant 1738662 and National Science Foundation career award No. 1845448.

Available for download on Monday, June 13, 2022