skip to Main Content

Apollo FPGA IP

FPGAs are widely used in mission-critical environments with specific processing needs. Motivations for copying or altering sensitive data or valuable IP are abundant. Especially in aerospace and defense, attacks can result in loss of IP, leakage of top-secret information and compromised national security. A way for designers to secure their FPGAs, its sensitive data and communications, is the use of cryptography. Authenticity, integrity and confidentiality can be guaranteed by using strong cryptographic keys, rooted in the hardware of the FPGA.

Apollo combines a Butterfly Physical Unclonable Function (PUF) with Intrinsic ID’s helper data algorithms. Butterfly shaped circuits are configured on the fabric of the FPGA to intrinsically generate the entropy needed for a strong hardware root of trust. Keys derived from Apollo are volatile and derived only when required providing a significant high security assurance. Since Apollo is part of the FPGA configuration file it is a “soft PUF” implementation and security functionality can be retrofitted on deployed devices, enabling remote “brownfield” installation of a hardware root of trust.

The FPGA “Intrinsic Fingerprint”

Apollo FPGA IPThe biggest challenge when solving security problems is getting credentials, such as cryptographic keys, into the device and keeping them secure. For FPGA architectures in which standard uninitialized SRAM is not available, a butterfly PUF* enables designers to extract a unique device fingerprint from standard FPGA fabric. This fingerprint is converted to a high-quality device-unique PUF key using Intrinsic ID’s helper data algorithms (or fuzzy extractor). Apollo FPGA IP reliably reconstructs the same cryptographic key under all environmental circumstances.

Upon first use, called the enrollment, Apollo generates an activation code which, in combination with the butterfly PUF fingerprint, is used to reconstruct on demand, in real time, an intrinsic PUF key inside a secure perimeter. The intrinsic PUF key can be used as a root key for key derivation and key wrapping. A key protected by Apollo is integrity protected and can be retrieved only on the same device, while it will be meaningless on other devices.

When used in combination with a crypto core, Apollo allows designers to provision their FPGAs with an unclonable identity, which consists of a private key, a public key and a device certificate. Once provisioned, the FPGA can prove its identity and establish a secure channel with another device, a server or a cloud. The private key is never stored in NVM or OTP, but regenerated on the fly when needed, making the solution very effective against counterfeiting.

Use Cases

Anti-counterfeiting: binding of proprietary mission-critical IP to the device.

Secure communication: authentication and encryption of data between heterogeneous devices that are part of a homogenous defense electronics system.

Secure supply chain: enabled by generation of end-user keys which can be wrapped or protected using device-unique cryptographic keys.


  • Verified on Xilinx platforms Artix-7, Virtex-7, Kintex-7, and Zynq 7000, Kintex UltraScale+, Zynq UltraScale+ and Virtex UltraScale+ (*)
  • Temperature range from -40°C to +125°C
  • Voltage supply variation +/- 20%
  • Lifetime > 25 years


Apollo FPGA IP is easily integrated in any FPGA design. Standard deliverables include:

  • VHDL top-level design for specific platform
  • FPGA module with routing scripts
  • Simulation and test bench
  • Driver for easy integration
  • Documentation

Apollo v1.4

Security Strength (bits)


Maximum Key Length (bits)


Size : #LUTS

14k - 16k

Activation Code Size (bytes)


Generate Device Keys and Random Values

Wrap and Unwrap Keys


Attack Countermeasures

Anti-aging Measures

PUF Monitoring

Logic BIST


APB Interface (optional to remove)


* For details of specific Xilinx FPGA/SOC platforms, please contact us at MAGsales[@]

Apollo Benefits

  • Compatible with standard FPGA products
  • No sensitive key material present on device
  • High protection against tampering and invasive attacks


  • Secure Key Storage
  • Authentication
  • Flexible Key Provisioning
  • Anti-Counterfeiting
  • HW-SW Binding
  • Supply ChainProtection
Related Info
White Paper

Intrinsic ID has developed products which have been designed specifically to meet the security and reliability requirements of defense contractors and government agencies. For more information please contact MAGsales[@]

Back To Top