IEEE BRACU Student Branch has successfully organized a seminar on “Detection of Counterfeit Electronic Components and Anti-Counterfeit Authentication Tags” on Monday, January 13th, 2020. The seminar was organized with a lot of enthusiasm and participation of students coming from different backgrounds. The guest speaker, Dr. Mehdi Anwar, serving as full professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Connecticut, USA, talked about the counterfeit and its disadvantages and effects in the IC chip markets and the precautions of declining the counterfeit problems and increase authenticity of the IC chip. Dr. AKM Abdul Malek Azad, advisor of IEEE Student Branch, was also present in the seminar.

The seminar started with the short opening speech of Dr. AKM Abdul Malek Azad, advisor of IEEE Student Branch, thanking the guest speaker and the students to come here and attend the seminar, before finally handover the stage to Dr. Mehdi. At the beginning of the seminar, Dr. Mehdi discussed about what counterfeit is and highlighted some of the sources of the counterfeit. One of the most common cases of the counterfeit is the counterfeit of the money notes. Recently, the IC chips are also being affected by this curse called counterfeit. For this reason, those IC chips are losing their authenticity which is a big problem, addressed by Dr. Mehdi.

Later on the seminar, he discussed about some methods to detect those counterfeit materials. Some stages and steps are shown and discussed by him through the slides which includes visual inspection, comparison with reference materials, scanning the materials and so on. The area where he and his team is currently research on is the 3rd stage which is for scanning purpose. They use the method called Terahertz (THz) which deals with long wavelengths and image processing to detect the counterfeit. One drawbacks that Dr. Mehdi mentioned is that this THz method doesn’t provide a clear image processing because of its dealing with long wavelength. To get the perfect clear image, they use x Rays, although he’s encouraged the audience to come research for the clear image processing through THz method. He also briefly discussed about Re-engineering, pure forency and so on. One advantage of THz method that Dr. Mehdi mentioned is about calculation accuracy which is almost perfect and easier to determine the amount of counterfeit any material has according to the calculation.                                                                                

Now the question comes, “Is it possible to encrypt chips?” That’s what Dr. Mehdi and his team’s interest area is right now. Nowadays, most of the chips available in market are identified as clone chips. Moreover, those chips are not authentic as well. The industries or organizations making those clones are modifying those chips in the femtohertz layers which is not easy to detect as well. That’s why making the originals more authentic by giving some special codes or symbols inside the chips can be more efficient, Dr. Mehdi stated during his speech. A process called ENS (Engineered Nano-Signatures) are currently being developed for the authenticity purpose, Dr. Mehdi said.

An idea about a new kind of material is introduced by Dr. Mehdi’s speech which is called metamaterial, developed by Electron Beam Incorporation. The general property of this material is, whenever light passes through this material, we’ll get two different reflection. So this material can be a big asset for making the ICs more authentic and finding the counterfeit more easily, says DR. Mehdi. He described this part based on the theory and mathematical equations they came by researching.

Dr. Mehdi also put more emphasis on making the chip unique by putting some short of Morse code inside the deep layer of the chip. This idea they are developing is similar to ENS process what he described earlier in his speech, but a bit different with the objective.    

At the end part of the seminar, Dr. Mehdi discussed about the possibilities of measuring structures,  its written patterns and talked about the results about whether it’ll be a successful project or not. Right now, better image processing and proper filter methods are quite important for going through all the process he’s discussed so far in his lecture. So he’s put more emphasis and encouraged on doing research about these short of stuffs. HE also talked about the possibilities of embedded coding in ENS system. Finally, he concluded his speech thanking everyone and encouraging everyone to take steps to innovate something new. He also advises to maintain the work ethics properly. The session ended with a sort photo session with the guest speaker and the students’ altogether and a small snacks session for refreshment. 

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