Chip Reverse Engineering

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Revision as of 10:22, 15 July 2008 by Phil (Talk | contribs)
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Thanks to Karsten Nohl presentation at Hacker Space Fest, there's an interesting DIY approach for reverse engineering.

Now we have to find a microscope...

  • Friend of Phil will lend a microscope with camera
    • not perfect but should enable us to do the first etching/abrasive steps
  • We'll try to select and acquire a perfect microscope for this job.


These are the features we're looking for:

  • 500x magnification
  • 2 MP to 8 MP camera
  • Objective table to move the chip slowly (i.e. not by hand, too much shaking and imprecision)
  • Reflected (incident) lighting

Feature we DON'T NEED:

  • Confocal microscope (it seems, because we'll abrase/grind away the upper layers anyway and the bottom layers are opaque anyway too)


Perfect Microscope

Still selecting the right model.


Poor man microscope setup

  • Microscope: 640x optical Bresser Biolux
    • lent by Phil's friend
  • Objective table:
    • micro-screws controlled moving plate
    • possibility to buy one: [1]
  • Camera: 3.2 MP Canon Ixus V3
    • Mounting: Attached directly to the eye-piece
    • Drawback: produces round (not square) pictures (with no noticeable deformation) of smaller size/coverage than regular microscope-camera.
    • Advantage: working and free
  • Camera: 0.3 MP Ulead IC Chip camera
    • Drawback: Low res.
    • Advantage: square images, adapted for the scope.

Results so far

  • Req: 500x magnification or higher
    • This one goes up to 640x
  • Req: 2 MP to 8 MP camera
    • The Canon IXUS is 3.2 MP
    • Will need to take more photo as just 2/3rd of the picture is usable (round pictures)
  • Req: Objective table to move the chip slowly (i.e. not by hand, too much shaking and imprecision)
    • Poor man setup with micro-screws, TO DO
  • Req: Reflected (incident) lighting
    • Reflected light works at lower magnification with daylight
    • Even for microscope which is designed for see-through
    • TODO: Need to buy adequate lighting. Got to test with external lighting (HB LEDs?) at higher magnification (640x)


  • What kind of glue to use to attach the chip to solid/manoeuvrable support?


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