Electrical and Computer Engineering ETDs


Dylan Ismari

Publication Date



A hardware Trojan (HT) detection method is presented that is based on measuring and detecting small systematic changes in path delays introduced by capacitive loading effects or series inserted gates of HTs. The path delays are measured using a high resolution on-chip embedded test structure called a time-to-digital converter (TDC) that provides approx. 25 ps of timing resolution. A calibration method for the TDC as well as a chip-averaging technique are demonstrated to nearly eliminate chip-to-chip and within-die process variation effects on the measured path delays across chips, which simplifies the process and enhances the effectiveness of a simulation-based golden model. Path delay tests are applied to multiple copies of a 90 nm custom ASIC chip which incorporates two copies of an AES macro as well as a SPICE-level transient simulation model. The AES macros are exact replicas except for the insertion of several additional gates in the second hardware copy, which are designed to model HTs. Statistical detection methods are used to isolate and detect systematic changes introduced by these additional gates and a set of Trojan emulation circuits also inserted into the macros.


Hardware Security, Hardware Trojans, Embedded Test Structure, Golden Model

Document Type




Degree Name

Computer Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Zarkesh-Ha, Payman

Second Committee Member

Saqib, Fareena

Third Committee Member

Chakraborty, Raj