Archive for the ‘Hacking’ Category

That’s a Big Microscope…

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

I’ve often said that there are no secrets in hardware — you just need a bigger, better microscope.

I think I’ve found the limit to that statement. To give you an idea, here’s the “lightbulb” that powers the microscope:

It’s the size of a building, and it’s the Swiss Light Source. Actually, not all of that building is dedicated to this microscope, just one beamline of an X-ray synchrotron capable of producing photons at an energy of 6.5keV (X-rays) at a flux of close to a billion coherent photons per second — but still, it’s a big light bulb. It might be a while before you see one of these popping up in a hacker’s garage…err, hangar…somewhere.

The result? One can image, in 3-D and “non-destructively” (e.g., without having to delayer or etch away dielectrics), chips down to a resolution of 14.6nm.

That’s a pretty neat trick if you’re trying to reverse engineer modern silicon.

You can read the full article at Nature (“High Resolution non-destructive three-dimensional imaging of integrated circuits” by Mirko Holler et al). I’m a paying subscriber to Nature so I’m supposed to have access to the article, but at the moment, their paywall is throwing a null pointer exception. Once the paywall is fixed you can buy a copy of the article to read, but in the meantime, SciHub seems more reliable.

You get what you pay for, right?

Name that Ware June 2017

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

The Ware for June 2017 is shown below.

If nobody can guess this one from just the pointy end of the stick, I’ll post a photo with more context…

Winner, Name that Ware May 2017

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

The Ware for May 2017 is the “Lorentz and Hertz” carriage board from an HP Officejet Pro 8500. Congrats to MegabytePhreak for nailing both the make and model of the printer it came from! email me for your prize.

I found the name of the board to be endearing.

Name that Ware May 2017

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

The Ware for May 2017 is shown below.

This is another one where the level difficulty will depend on if I cropped enough detail out of the photo to make it challenging but not impossible. If you do figure this one out quickly, curious to hear which detail tipped you off!

Winner, Name that Ware April 2017

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

The Ware for April 2017 is an HP 10780A optical receiver. Congrats to Brian for absolutely nailing this one! email me for your prize.