International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Andreas Duensing


On the application of Two-Photon Absorption for Laser Fault Injection attacks: Pushing the physical boundaries for Laser-based Fault Injection
Laser Fault Injection (LFI) is considered to be the most powerful semiinvasive fault injection method for implementation attacks on security devices. In this work we discuss for the first time the application of the nonlinear Two-Photon Absorption (TPA) effect for the purpose of LFI. Though TPA is an established technique in other areas, e.g. fluorescence microscopy, so far it did not receive any attention in the field of physical attack methods on integrated circuits. We show that TPA has several superior properties over the regular linear LFI method. The TPA effect allows to work on non-thinned devices without increasing the induced energy and hence the stress on the device. In contrast to regular LFI, the nonlinearity of the TPA effect leads to increased precision due to the steeper descent in intensity and also a vertically restricted photoelectric effect. By practical experiments, we demonstrate the general applicability of the method for a specific device and that unlike a regular LFI setup, TPA-LFI is capable to inject faults without triggering a latch-up effect. In addition we discuss the possible implications of TPA-LFI on various sensor-based countermeasures.