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Clockless Smartcard Chip Combines Innovative Contactless Interface and Security Sensors

Tiempo, expert in the design of secured clockless chips, has initiated the collaborative project “ASMART” with several added value partners to develop an innovative smartcard chip prototype.

This chip will combine Tiempo secured clockless platform with CEA-Leti innovative contactless interface and Invia best-in-class security sensors. It also embeds a secured operating system developed by Gemalto, world leader in Digital Security, in order to effectively demonstrate the benefits of Tiempo unique asynchronous technology for secured contactless applications. Further on, the chip will be characterized by Presto Engineering and manufactured on the new 110 nm eFlash process developed by LFoundry Rousset.

“This new type of smartcard chips will enable end-users to experience more secured and faster payment transactions for any kind of situation”

Tiempo asynchronous circuits offer unmatched benefits for secure transactions, such as very high hardware resistance to side channel and perturbation attacks as well as a natural adaptability to the energy-constrained context of contactless smartcards, always delivering maximum processing speed under limited and variable power budget.

With the fast growth of contactless payment, transit and ID markets, the next generation of smartcard products faces the difficult compromise between improved security and faster transaction. The properties of Tiempo asynchronous logic shall allow achieving fast and secure contactless transactions, even under low or variable magnetic field intensity.

“Tiempo has already demonstrated the speed/power performance of its asynchronous platforms, as well as its high robustness to hardware attacks as proven by external labs. We are very excited to collaborate now with our partners CEA-Leti and Invia for this full chip design, with Gemalto for the software and with LFoundry and Presto Engineering for the manufacturing and characterization process.” says Serge Maginot, CEO of Tiempo. “This new type of smartcard chips will enable end-users to experience more secured and faster payment transactions for any kind of situation”.

“CEA-Leti is proud to use his strong background in the RFID area and low power design to provide a contactless interface solution specifically optimized to use the low voltage operation capability of Tiempo’s asynchronous logic”, says Michel Durr, Analog & RF IC Design Program Manager, CEA-Leti.

“LFoundry is very happy to actively contribute, with its newly developed 110 nm eFlash process, to this innovative project on high-performance and high-security smartcard chips”, says Jean-Pierre Delesse, Chief Marketing Officer, LFoundry Rousset. “The project objectives are fully aligned with LFoundry development roadmap, which includes technology innovation in a security-certified manufacturing environment and competitiveness”.

“Presto Engineering is strongly committed to bridging the gap between an innovative prototype and a production ready chip for an asynchronous contactless solution. Industrial test challenges associated with such disruptive innovation demand creativity and expertise in order to be cost effective”, says Cedric Mayor, Director of R&D, Presto Engineering. “We are very excited to support a great market opportunity by delivering the foundation of its industrial test solution”.

Preliminary silicon prototypes are scheduled for Q2 2013 and the first complete samples for Q4 2013. These prototypes will be followed by a campaign of proper certifications.

The “ASMART” project is co-funded by the “Fonds Unique Interministériel” (FUI) and the “Fonds Européen de Développement Régional” (FEDER) and has been co-labeled by the two regional Excellence Clusters “Minalogic” and “SCS”.


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