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The Ultimate Defense Against Hackers May Be Just a Few Atoms Thick


At monolayer thickness, this material has the optical properties of a semiconductor that emits light. At multilayer, the properties change and the material does not emit light.

Researchers at New York University Tandon School of Engineering have introduced a new class of unclonable cybersecurity security primitives made of a low-cost nanomaterial with the highest possible level of structural randomness.

Credit: NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Researchers at New York University (NYU) have developed a new class of unclonable cybersecurity primitives made from a low-cost nanomaterial with the highest possible level of structural randomness.

The researchers have offered the first proof of complete spatial randomness in atomically thin molybdenum disulfide.

They grew the nanomaterial in layers, and by varying the thickness of each layer they were able to tune the size and type of energy band structure, which affected the properties of the material.

"At monolayer thickness, this material has the optical properties of a semiconductor that emits light, but at multilayer, the properties change, and the material no longer emits light," says NYU professor Davood Shahrjerdi.

By tuning the material growth process, the resulting thin film is dotted with randomly occurring regions that alternately emit or do not emit light. When exposed to light, this pattern acts as a unique authentication key that could secure hardware components at minimal cost.

From NYU Tandon School of Engineering
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