CLOSED Call for Papers: Special Section on Physics and Cryptology–an Inevitable Couple

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Submissions Due: 29 October 2021

Computers and cryptographic hardware eventually are no Turing machines living in a Platonic world, but real, physical objects that can be touched and accessed, and which consume power, dissipate radiation, or are susceptible to faults and invasive manipulation. This simple observation has had a massive impact both for codemakers and codebreakers over the last decades.

On the side of codebreakers, various attacks have been developed that specifically target the physical nature of electronic hardware; they include invasive and semi-invasive read-out techniques, fault injection, photonic emission analysis, power or other side channels, and also hardware Trojans, only naming a few. Complementary to that, physical phenomena like quantum effects or optical interference can allow faster computations than classical Turing machines for certain cryptographically relevant problems. This enables novel computational attack vectors based on physics, too.

On the other hand, physics provides equally powerful tools for codemakers. To start with a particularly popular example, quantum physics allows exchanging a secret key that is provably unknown to eavesdroppers, and that remains so forever – a security level impossible to realize by traditional digital means, such as the Diffie-Hellman protocol. Secondly, various electrical, optical, or quantum mechanisms have been suggested to meet of the central needs in cryptographic protocols, namely the generation of true, secure randomness for any involved parties. Finally, the phenomena of physical randomness and unclonable, small-scale disorder have been exploited by so-called physical unclonable functions, a tool that has strongly influences our thinking on hardware security over the last two decades.

Authors are invited to submit a manuscript to this special section. Relevant topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Constructive uses of physics in cryptography, including quantum and relativistic cryptography, quantum key agreement, noise-based cryptography, novel sources of entropy, PUF, TRNG, and new physical primitives in cryptography and security
  • Physics in cryptanalysis, including quantum computing and non-standard computing approaches in cryptanalysis, DNA-computing, and TWINKLE and TWIRL devices
  • Physical attacks on cryptographic hardware, including novel physics in side-channel analysis (optical, thermal, emission-based), novel physical countermeasures based on innovative application of materials and semiconductors, semi-invasive and invasive methods, backside attacks, and photonic emission analysis
  • Physics-based countermeasures, including protective physical hardware shields and capsules, PUF-capsules, physical intruder detection, tamper-sensing and tamper-evident circuits, secure storage and erasure of keys and data, and online and remote verification of cryptographic hardware


  • Submission deadline for full papers: October 29, 2021
  • First round of reviews: January 28, 2022
  • Submission deadline for revisions: March 25, 2022
  • Second round of reviews and final decisions: May 20, 2022
  • Camera ready versions: July 15, 2022
  • Publication (tentative): last 2022 issue

Submission Guidelines

Submitted papers must include new significant research-based technical contributions in the scope of the journal. Purely theoretical, technological, or lacking methodological-and-generality papers are not suitable. The submissions must include clear evaluations of the proposed solutions (based on simulation and/or implementations results) and comparisons to state-of-the-art solutions. Papers under review elsewhere are not acceptable for submission. Extended versions of published conference papers (to be included as part of the submission together with a summary of differences) are welcome, but there must be at least 40% of new impacting technical/scientific material in the submitted journal version and there should be less than 50% verbatim similarity level as reported by a tool (such as CrossRef). As per TETC policies, only full-length papers (10-16 pages with technical material, double column – papers beyond 12 pages will be subject to MOPC, as per CS policies) can be submitted to special sections. The bibliography should not exceed 45 items, and each author’s bio should not exceed 150 words.


Contact the guest editors at

Guest editors:

  • Marten van Dijk (CWI Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
  • Ulrich Rührmair (LMU München, Germany, and University of Connecticut, USA)
  • Patrick Schaumont (Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA) – Corresponding TETC Editor
  • Jean-Pierre Seifert (TU Berlin, Germany)
  • Harald Weinfurter (LMU München, Germany)