Opposite Engineering Silicon, One Transistor at a Time

Lots of can have marveled on the feats of opposite engineering completed via decapping built-in circuits and interpreting their secrets and techniques via inspecting the uncooked silicon die. Few folks can have a opt for ourselves, however that doesn’t forestall the method being an enchanting one. Thankfully [Ryan Cornateanu] is readily available with a step by step description of his adventure into the artwork of decapping, as he is taking on what would possibly appear an not going topic within the type of the CH340 USB to serial chip you’ll to find on an Arduino Nano board.

Beginning with scorching sulphuric acid may not be everybody’s concept of an afternoon on the bench, however having used it to strip the epoxy from the CH340, he’s ready to have a look below the microscope. That is no odd microscope however a metallurgists device designed to gentle the highest of the pattern from one facet with polarised gentle. This permits him to spot a space of masks ROM and zoom in at the transistors that make each and every particular person bit.

At this level the chemistry strikes into the downright frightening as he reaches for the hydrofluoric acid and has to make use of a PTFE container as a result of HF is infamous for its voracious reactivity. This permits him to remove the interconnects and have a look at the transistor layer. He can then with somewhat of laptop imaginative and prescient processing lend a hand extract somewhat layer map, which with some experimentation and guesswork will also be manipulated right into a firmware sell off. Even then it’s no longer finished, as a result of he is taking us into the arena of disassembly of what’s an unknown structure. Unquestionably value a learn for the armchair chip fanatic.

When you’re thirsty for extra, in fact we need to direct you against the paintings of [Ken Shirriff].