The SecurCore SC000 microcontroller of the STMicro ST31N600 arm includes biometric security, energy harvesting


Today, I discovered a family of Arm cores that I had never heard of: the Arm SecurCore family for smart cards and embedded security applications. Arm SecurCore SC000 (based on Cortex-M0) and Arm SecurCore SC300 (based on Cortex-M3) exist for years, but they just came to my attention with the announcement of the STMicro ST31N600 Secure Microcontroller.

Manufactured with STMicro’s 40nm eSTM technology, the ST31N600 is designed for contactless and contactless payment cards, ID cards and transport tickets through energy harvesting circuits and support for EMV ISO 7816, ISO 14443 and ISO 18092 standards.

STMicro also introduced the ST31N500 and ST31N400 microcontrollers with less flash memory, but with the same specifications as ST31N600:

  • MCU Core – 32-bit Lockstep SecurCore SC000 arm up to 60 MHz
  • Memory – 16 KB user RAM
  • Storage with 25-year retention, endurance of 500,000 erase / write cycles
    • ST31N600 – 608 KB
    • ST31N500 – 512 KB
    • ST31N400 – 416 KB
  • RF Harvest for Battery-less Smart Cards
  • Wireless
    • RFUART (Universal RF Asynchronous Transceiver) up to 848 kbps
    • Carrier frequency 13.56 MHz
  • Contactless and contactless card standards
    • Contact assignment compatible with ISO / IEC 7816-3 standards
    • Complies with ISO / IEC 14443 Type A and Type B, and ISO / IEC 18092 Type F standards
    • Hardware and software implementation of MIFARE Plus EV1, MIFARE Classic and MIFARE DESFire EV2
  • Peripheral devices
    • Asynchronous ISO / IEC 7816-3 (IART) transceiver
    • SPI master / slave up to 6.2 MHz, I2C software up to 400 Kbps
    • 4x GPIO
    • 3x 16-bit timers with interrupt, 1x watchdog timer
  • Security
    • Triple DES throttle with three keys, AES throttle
    • True Random Number Generator (TRNG) Compliant with Class AIS-31 PTG.2, NIST SP800-22 and NIST SP800-90B
    • NESCRYPT Lite Low Power (LLP) coprocessor for the public key cryptography algorithm
    • ISO / IEC 13239 calculation block
  • Miscellaneous – External clock frequency up to 10 MHz
  • Power source
    • Supply voltages from 2.7 V to 5.5 V
    • 1.4V to 2.5V external power generator for biometric components
    • ESD protection
  • Temperature range – -25 ° C to +85 ° C
ST31N600 block diagram
ST31N microcontroller block diagram

The microcontroller can be programmed with Arm Keil SecurCore SC000 software development tools which include an instruction set simulator (ISS) and C compiler. STMicroelectronics also provides a time-accurate hardware emulator controlled by the Keil debugger and the ST development environment, as well as a product simulator based on Keil’s ISS simulator for the Arm SecurCore SC000 processor.

More details can be found on the product page. The solution was also presented from November 30 to December 2 at Trusttech 2021 in Paris, with STMicro showing secure biometric payment based on STPay-Topaz-Bio “Out-of-the-box payment solution”, which the company also called “Biometric System-on-Card (BSoC) solution”, equipped with the ST31N600 MCU and an STM32L4 microcontroller embedded in an EMV module (Eurocard Mastercard Visa ).

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