Supporting the Future of eGovernment Applications

Using one of the oldest spy tricks in the book – invisible ink – SMARTRAC can add Level 3 Security to eGovernment applications. The company is also ready to continue to support governments worldwide, as they start to complement today’s ROM chip technology with flash chip technology for applications such as eID cards, ePassports, eDriving Licenses or eBorder Crossings.


Support for New Flash Chip Technology as well as ROM Chip Technology


Flash chip technology is gradually migrating into the eGovernment application area, and will soon be working alongside the current state-of-the-art ROM chip technology. The flexibility of the new flash technology means that its adoption will rapidly become widespread. Its advantages include:


  • Faster time to market: Easy prototyping and sampling; fast reaction to demand changes; easy software adaptation for new projects; reduced time from software drop-in to field test; fast ramp-up after short optimization loops.
  • Reduced total cost of ownership: Reduced inventory risk; less complexity in planning and forecasting; avoidance of future cost increases with ROM masks. 
  • Highest quality and security: Flash controllers already proven in automotive applications; dedicated flash loader security concept.


Adding Value during the Production Process


Customers ordering eID and ePassport PRELAM® from SMARTRAC can also take advantage of a number of additional services that add significant value to the process, such as:


  • Wafer processing. This is the physical processing of the chips (grinding, dicing and bumping) and is available for all ROM- and flash-based technologies.
  • Chip packaging in various formats, such as SMOA4, SMOA5 and SMOA6.
  • Secure production environment certified to EAL5+, suitable for the handling of sensitive and secure microcontrollers.
  • Unique ID data capture. Each individual chip ID number is captured, and the resulting data provided to the customer for their own internal inventory and logistics purposes.
  • Initialization, application and Chip Operation System (COS) loading services. The major advantage of flash-based chips is that PRELAM manufacturers like SMARTRAC can now upload customized software onto the chip. This is a new functionality that was not possible with the traditional, ROM-based chip technology.


Flash technology will soon be a complementary technology to ROM technology in many eGovernment applications, and this evolution is already taking place. As one of the world’s leading PRELAM manufacturers, SMARTRAC has constantly invested to ensure that it can support all currently available chip technologies.

Highest Level of Security for eID Applications


There are three levels of security that can be built into eID cards. First-level security consists of features you can see, feel or hear unaided: a high-definition grayscale photograph, for example. Second-level security employs features that can be identified using magnification, UV light or a barcode reader, such as micro-lettering in borders and designs.

Third-level security design features, however, require specialized equipment or forensic analysis to detect. SMARTRAC is the first PRELAM manufacturer to offer the addition of a Level 3 security feature at the production stage – a feature that is normally added by end customers, especially national eID card manufacturers.

The feature uses invisible ink printing on SMARTRAC eID secure transponder products to provide governments with a means to distinguish a genuine, secure document from a counterfeit one.

It is the main advantage of the ink that it can be detected through most of the materials and used with various product structures. The printing can only be seen using portable infrared readers, and remains detectable throughout the transponder product’s lifecycle.

SMARTRAC can apply such a Level 3 security feature not only to its PRELAM products, but also to its ePassport or eCover products. The customer can process the products as usual, since they are indistinguishable from “normal” products.

The big advantage of this extra level of security is in cases where, for example, the chip has been rendered unreadable by a fraud attack. This invisible, printed security feature can still be detected, and prove the authenticity of the product. Another benefit of this approach, from the logistical point of view, is that the customer will always know which PRELAM products were supplied by SMARTRAC.

This security technology can be used for all eGovernment applications: eID Cards, ePassports, eDriving Licenses or eBorder Crossings. 

For further information on flash technology or ROM technology support for eID applications, or the new Level 3 security printing option, please contact us here.