Advanced Scanning Optical Microscope (ASOM) Capability Expansion Prototype

S²MARTS Project No. 21-11

This opportunity was awarded to SRI International.

The Department of Defense (DoD) is seeking prototype solutions for Advanced Scanning Optical Microscopes (ASOM) Capability Expansion.  As security becomes an increasing concern for microelectronics, especially from a national security perspective, many security vulnerabilities have been discovered/exploited in the cybersecurity domain. Many of these attacks have been successful because of firmware/software weaknesses, which allow attackers to have open doors into our security posture from the outside. However, as more and more of these attacks are becoming harder to do, hardware exploits are on the rise. Hardware exploits are much harder to develop because the attacker needs physical access to the Integrated Circuit (IC), but successful exploits at the hardware level are devastating due to the wealth of information stored in an IC. This is of great concern to the DoD community due to the amount of time and effort put into developing state-of-the-art algorithms to keep warfighter advantage.

Optical systems that can be purchased currently are not designed or built with a modular framework.  This prototype will be built with a modular framework, which will allow the ability for fast incorporation of new optics for research and development.  This system will try to incorporate some non-linear optical effects into the system, which greatly increases the design complications. No current optical system on the market tries to control non-linear optical effects due to the increased complexity of delivering an operational tool. This is one major difference between current systems and the proof-of-concept system that we are looking to build.

The desired end state would incorporate a total of three beamlines into the system. Two of the beamlines would be of different wavelengths (1319nm and 1064nm) capable of being independently steered within a Field of View (FOV), each with probing capability and the ability to independently focus each beam in a single focal plane within the backside of the IC. The ability to focus both beams at the same focal plane by an operator in real-time is critical for the success of the system. The third beam (1319nm) would be used independently of the two probe beams would, will need the capability of being pulsed. The laser power and the pulse duration will need to be operator-controlled. The pulse width will need to be able to be adjusted from a minimum of 1us to a maximum of 5ms. The laser power will need to be able to be adjusted from 0mW to 300mW with air gap objectives.