SMART: A Secure Magnetoelectric AntifeRromagnet-Based Tamper-Proof Non-Volatile Memory

Nikhil Rangarajan, Satwik Patnaik, Johann Knechtel, Ozgur Sinanoglu, Shaloo Rakheja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The storage industry is moving toward emerging non-volatile memories (NVMs), including the spin-transfer torque magnetoresistive random-access memory (STT-MRAM) and the phase-change memory (PCM), owing to their high density and low-power operation. In this paper, we demonstrate, for the first time, circuit models and performance benchmarking for the domain wall (DW) reversal-based magnetoelectric-antiferromagnetic random access memory (ME-AFMRAM) at cell-level and at array-level. We also provide perspectives for coherent rotation-based memory switching with topological insulator-driven anomalous Hall read-out. In the coherent rotation regime, the ultra-low power magnetoelectric switching coupled with the terahertz-range antiferromagnetic dynamics result in substantially lower energy-per-bit and latency metrics for the ME-AFM RAM compared to other NVMs including STT-MRAM and PCM. After characterizing the novel ME-AFM RAM, we leverage its unique properties to build a dense, on-chip, secure NVM platform, called SMART: A Secure Magnetoelectric Antiferromagnet-Based Tamper-Proof Non-Volatile Memory. New NVM technologies open up challenges and opportunities from a data-security perspective. For example, their sensitivity to magnetic fields and temperature fluctuations, and their data remanence after power-down make NVMs vulnerable to data theft and tampering attacks. The proposed SMART memory is not only resilient against data confidentiality attacks seeking to leak sensitive information but also ensures data integrity and prevents Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks on the memory. It is impervious to particular power side-channel (PSC) attacks that exploit asymmetric read/write signatures for '0' and '1' logic levels, and photonic side-channel attacks that monitor photo-emission signatures from the chip backside.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9072373
Pages (from-to)76130-76142
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Access
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Antiferromagnetic materials
  • magnetic memory
  • magnetoelectric effects
  • non-volatile memory
  • tamper-proof memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering


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