Xerox PARC Develops Self-Destructing Chip


Xerox has taken a page out of Mission Impossible’s book by creating a self-destructing chip that can protect top secret data.

The chip will function just like any other computer chip that stores encryption or other data. The only difference is it comes with the ability to blow itself up, adding an extra measure of security (and because blowing things up is fun). This way, if any crucial data or info gets into the wrong hands, the chip can be destroyed within seconds.

The way it self-destructs is by having a built-in resistor heat up to an extreme temperature. Ten seconds later, the glass shatters into a million pieces and the data is lost forever. The explosion process can be triggered with the use of a simple laser, or it can be remotely detonated with a radio signal.

The applications we are interested in are data security and things like that,
said Gregory Whiting, a senior scientist at PARC in Palo Alto, California.
We take the glass and we ion-exchange temper it to build in stress. What you get is glass that, because it’s heavily stressed, breaks it fragments into tiny little pieces. We really wanted to come up with a system that was very rapid and compatible with commercial electronics.

And what better way to demonstrate how great your product is than by creating a display where you blow it up? It’s about as close as you can get to running a fireworks stand in the digital world. A demo was recently conducted in St. Louis where the destruction was caused by a photo-diode, showing just how effective it is.

The chip is made from Corning’s Gorilla Glass, which is the material manufacturers of smartphones and tablets use to protect their screens. It was developed in tandem with DARPA and its vanishing programmable resources project, which aims at improving data security.

Via our proprietary website Just IT Hardware, ASAP Semiconductor is a leading distributor of Xerox products. Prospective customers can browse our inclusive inventory of hard-to-find obsolete and current parts at If you are interested in a part, please feel free to contact our knowledgeable sales staff at or call 1-714-705-4780 for a quote.


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