In the competitive world of microprocessor design and manufacturing, rapid advancements can be facilitated by learning from the components made by one’s closest rivals. To make this possible, Orisar Inc. (formerly Semiconductor Insights) provides reverse engineering services to integrated circuit (IC) manufacturers. The process produces a circuit diagram from a chip and allows the manufacturer to learn about a competitor’s product. These services are also used to determine if any intellectual property infringements have been committed by their competitor. Reverse engineering of integrated circuit is made difficult by the shrinking form factor and increasing transistor density. To perform this complex task Orisar Inc. employs sophisticated techniques to capture the design of an IC. Electron microscope photography captures a detailed image of an IC layer. Because a typical IC contains more than one layer, each layer is photographed and physically removed from the IC to expose the next layer. A noise removal algorithm is then applied to the pictures, which are then passed to pattern recognition software in order to transfer the layer design into a polygonal representation of the circuit. At the last step a knowledgeable human expert looks at the polygonal representation and inputs the design into a standard electronic schematic with a CAD package. This process us currently very time consuming. We propose a method which can be easily automated thereby saving valuable worker time and accelerating the process of reverse engineering
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