OTP Controller Technical Specification



This document specifies the functionality of the one time programmable (OTP) memory controller. The OTP controller is a module that is a peripheral on the chip interconnect bus, and thus follows the Comportability Specification.

The OTP is a module that provides a device with one-time-programming functionality. The result of this programming is non-volatile, and unlike flash, cannot be reversed. The OTP functionality is constructed through an open-source OTP controller and a proprietary OTP IP.

The OTP controller provides:

  • An open-source abstraction interface that software can use to interact with a proprietary OTP block underneath.
  • An open-source abstraction interface that hardware components (for example life cycle controller and key manager) can use to interact with a proprietary OTP block underneath.
  • High level logical security protection, such as integrity checks and scrambling of sensitive content.
  • Software isolation for when OTP contents are readable and programmable.

The proprietary OTP IP provides:

  • Reliable, non-volatile storage.
  • Technology-specific redundancy or error correction mechanisms.
  • Physical defensive features such as SCA and FI resistance.
  • Visual and electrical probing resistance.

Together, the OTP controller and IP provide secure one-time-programming functionality that is used throughout the life cycle (LC) of a device.


  • Multiple logical partitions of the underlying OTP IP
    • Each partition is lockable and integrity checked
    • Integrity digests are stored alongside each logical bank
  • Periodic / persistent checks of OTP values
    • Periodic checks of shadowed content vs digests
    • Periodic checks of OTP stored content and shadowed content
    • Persistent checks for immediate errors
  • Separate life cycle partition and interface to life cycle controller
    • Supports life cycle functions, but cannot be integrity locked
  • Lightweight scrambling of secret OTP partition using a global netlist constant
  • Lightweight ephemeral key derivation function for RAM scrambling mechanisms
  • Lightweight key derivation function for FLASH scrambling mechanism

OTP Controller Overview

The functionality of OTP is split into an open-source and a closed-source part, with a clearly defined boundary in between, as illustrated in the simplified high-level block diagram below.

OTP Controller Overview

It is the task of the open-source controller to provide a common, non-technology specific interface to OTP users with a common register interface and a clearly defined I/O interface to hardware. The open-source controller implements logical isolation and partitioning of OTP storage that enables users to separate different functions of the OTP into “partitions” with different properties. Finally, the open-source controller provides a high level of security for specific partitions by provisioning integrity digests for each partition, and scrambling of partitions where required.

The proprietary IP on the other hand translates a common access interface to the technology-specific OTP interface, both for functional and debug accesses (for example register accesses to the macro-internal control structure).

This split implies that every proprietary OTP IP must implement a translation layer from a standardized OpenTitan interface to the module underneath. It also implies that no matter how the OTP storage or word size may change underneath, the open-source controller must present a consistent and coherent software and hardware interface. This standardized interface is defined further below, and the wrapper leverages the same technology primitive mechanism that is employed in other parts of OpenTitan in order to wrap and abstract technology-specific macros (such as memories and clocking cells) that are potentially closed-source.

In order to enable simulation and FPGA emulation of the OTP controller even without access to the proprietary OTP IP, a generalized and synthesizable model of the OTP IP is provided in the form of a generic technology primitive.