Desynchronization of Self-Powered FN Tunneling Timers for Trust Verification of IoT Supply Chain

Liang Zhou, Sri Harsha Kondapalli, Kenji Aono, Shantanu Chakrabartty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The ability to precisely synchronize and desynchronize two spatially separated dynamical systems according to changes in their respective operating environment provides a powerful mechanism for authentication and trust verification in a supply chain. This paper explores the synchronization and desynchronization paradigm using our previously reported self-powered time-keeping device, to differentiate among passive Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices that were subjected to different variations in temperature or their ambient radio-frequency environment. The environmental variations were modeled as a modulation voltage that affects the rate of Fowler-Nordheim (FN) quantum tunneling and integration of electrons on a floating-gate, thus producing a time and history-dependent dynamic signature. We show that the operation of the self-powered FN device is reliable and repeatable even at single electron-per-second tunneling-rates and for durations greater than three years. We believe that the proposed solution could be cost-effective and scalable for authenticating different types of passive IoT ranging from credit cards, packaged chipsets, to pharmaceuticals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8676004
Pages (from-to)6537-6547
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Internet of Things Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • Authentication
  • floating-gates
  • passive Internet-of-Things (IoT)
  • self-powered timers
  • synchronization
  • trust verification


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