This paper introduces the concept of spin–orbit-torque-magnetic random access memory (SOT-MRAM) based physical unclonable function (PUF). The secret of the PUF is stored into a random state of a matrix of perpendicular SOT-MRAMs. Here, we show experimentally and with micromagnetic simulations that this random state is driven by the intrinsic nonlinear dynamics of the free layer of the memory excited by the SOT. In detail, a large enough current drives the magnetization along an in-plane direction. Once the current is removed, the in-plane magnetic state becomes unstable evolving toward one of the two perpendicular stable configurations randomly. In addition, we propose a hybrid CMOS/spintronics model to simulate a PUF realized by an array of 16 × 16 SOT-MRAM cells and evaluate the electrical characteristics. Hardware authentication based on this PUF scheme has several characteristics, such as CMOS-compatibility, non-volatility (no power consumption in standby mode), reconfigurability (the secret can be reprogrammed), and scalability, which can move a step forward the design of spintronic devices for application in security.

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