STMicroelectronics to Lead Next Generation of Secure Dual-Interface Chip-Card Microcontrollers

STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications and a top-three provider of smart card ICs, is leading the next generation of secure dual-interface chip-card microcontrollers combining advanced computing power with high contactless performance.

ST's new ST31 series is the first chip-card microcontroller to combine the latest ARM® SecurCore™ SC000™ processor that delivers outstanding computing performance and energy efficiency, support for contact or contactless operation, and support for MIFARE™, MIFARE DESFire™ and Calypso transport-card standards enhancing multi-application versatility. The ST31's extremely low-power architecture helps improve communication speed and reliability in contactless applications, in which the card circuitry is powered by RF energy from the reader.

"ST is a leading ARM SecurCore silicon licensee, and the first to announce general availability of products based on the SC000 processor," said Noel Hurley, VP strategy and marketing, processor division, ARM. "This advanced processor targets today's highest volume smart-card applications, with proven SecurCore security capabilities, low power consumption, reduced silicon footprint, and numerous architectural features that help reduce development costs and speed up time to market."

"The ST31 series strengthens ST's position in the digital security arena, expanding our family of dual-interface secure microcontrollers to support banks and service providers in deploying secure and convenient contactless solutions," said Marie-France Florentin, General Manager, Secure Microcontroller Division, STMicroelectronics.

Chip cards for banking and multi-applications including payment and transport are being adopted rapidly worldwide. Over 90% of card-payment terminals in Europe already comply with the EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) standard for chip and PIN cards[1]. The latest contactless standards promise even greater convenience for customers, shorter transaction times, and greater security. Credit card fraud has dropped appreciably after chip cards have been introduced in Europe and countries such as Canada, Australia, Japan and Korea. Banks in China and Hong Kong are working towards complete conversion by 2015.

The ST31 series chips rely on a highly secure architecture targeting EMVCo and Common Criteria EAL5+/EAL6+ security certifications, capable of supporting recognized cryptography algorithms such as DES, AES, RSA and ECC, while also reducing implementation costs by utilizing the silicon-efficient SecurCore SC000 processor based on ARM's advanced v7-M microcontroller architecture. This will accelerate conversion to chip cards in transitioning areas such as China, where cost is a major consideration for card issuers. A single-interface version of the ST31 for contact-only application is also available.

Major features of ST31 series:

  • ARM SecurCore SC000 Processor
  • 16 KB - 52 KB on-chip EEPROM options
  • NESCRYPT co-processor for public key cryptography algorithm
  • NESLIB certified cryptography library option
  • ISO 7816 compliant for contact-card applications
  • ISO 14443 A/B/B' contactless protocols, with automatic protocol detection
  • Contactless Automatic Frequency Control
  • Contactless data rate up to 3.4 Mbit/s
  • Support for simultaneous contact/contactless operation
  • MIFARE™ and MIFARE DESFire™ certified libraries option
  • 90nm advanced NVM technology

The ST31 series is sampling now and scheduled for certification in April 2013. Devices will be available with an EEPROM memory size of 52, 34, 22 or 16 KB, single or dual interface, and in wafer form or embeddable module. For further information, including pricing, please contact your ST sales office.

About STMicroelectronics

ST is a global leader in the semiconductor market serving customers across the spectrum of sense and power technologies and multimedia convergence applications. From energy management and savings to trust and data security, from healthcare and wellness to smart consumer devices, in the home, car and office, at work and at play, ST is found everywhere microelectronics make a positive and innovative contribution to people's life. By getting more from technology to get more from life, ST stands for life.augmented.

In 2011, the Company’s net revenues were $9.73 billion. Further information on ST can be found at


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