The American defense organization Darpa has awarded IBM a $3.45 million contract to build self-destructing chips. The US military wants to use the chips to prevent its systems from falling into enemy hands.
Darpa describes the demands it places on self-destructing chips in its vanishing programmable resources program. It states that such chips must have the same performance as regular electronics, but that they must contain an internal mechanism that can make the chips unusable on command and remotely.
The application of such chips in weapon systems, for example, should prevent an enemy from acquiring sensitive information if he manages to get his hands on American weapons. In addition to being used in weaponry, self-destructing chips could be deployed in wide-area field sensors, while also considering medical diagnostic systems and treatment applications.
IBM has indicated that it can manufacture such chips and has thus been awarded an order worth $3.45 million, or just over 2.5 million euros. The manufacturer wants to give cmos chips a thin coating with a glass substrate that cracks when a signal is emitted via an rf frequency. These chips would decay into a powder of silicon and silicon dioxide. It is not yet clear when IBM can supply the first cmos chips with a fuse to the US military.