Physical Unclonable Function Exploiting Sneak Paths in Resistive Cross-point Array

Ligang Gao, Pai Yu Chen, Rui Liu, Shimeng Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The physical unclonable function (PUF) is a promising innovative hardware security primitive that leverages the inherent randomness in the physical systems to produce unique responses upon the inquiry of challenges, thus the PUF could serve as a fingerprint for device authentication. In this paper, we propose a novel PUF implementation exploiting the sneak paths in the resistive cross-point (X-point) array, as a hardware security primitive. The entanglement of the sneak paths in the X-point array greatly enhances the entropy of the physical system, thereby increasing the space of challenge-response pairs to make a strong PUF. The X-point PUF characteristics, such as uniqueness and reliability, are experimentally evaluated on the fabricated 12 × 12 cross-point arrays based on the Pt/HfOx/TiN structure. The measurement results show that the average inter-Hamming distance of the response bits is around 46.2% across 28 different arrays, showing sufficient uniqueness. The measurement results also demonstrate that 0% intra-Hamming distance (or 100% reliability) of the response bits can be maintained more than 7.2 h at 100 °C (or equivalently ten years at 40 °C). This paper demonstrates the feasibility of using X-point PUF as a lightweight and reliable PUF for device authentication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7496813
Pages (from-to)3109-3115
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Electron Devices
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2016


  • Hardware security
  • physical unclonable function (PUF)
  • reliability
  • resistive cross-point array
  • sneak path
  • uniqueness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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