Secure Execution Processor

The Geon™ Secure Execution Processor is a low-power, 32-bit processor IP core with built-in protection of sensitive code and data. It uses two or more cryptographically separated execution contexts for a high degree of security during code execution and for data storage and transfer to and from the processor.

Geon benefits from the extreme code density of the BA2xTM ISA, and employs advanced power management to further lower CPU and memory subsystem power consumption. It can be licensed without volume-based royalty fees.

The Geon Processor addresses two fundamental security risks of modern SoC designs. First, it protects against breaches of confidentiality and integrity when firmware is stored outside or transferred to the processor. Geon does this by using authenticated encryption: code and data are only decrypted and checked for integrity at fetch time within the processor, and therefore are protected while they reside on the system memory or while being transferred to the processor.

Second, the Geon Processor protects against breaches of sensitive code and data from compromised software threads. For this it assigns address spaces and processor units to just one of the multiple secure execution contexts, and uses a separate set of encryption keys per execution context for the code and data encryption. In this manner, even a complete breach of a software thread in one execution context fails to compromise the data and code of the other contexts. 

The Geon Processor IP core implements a versatile and efficient 32-bit processor with five pipeline stages. It interfaces to main memory via separate instruction and data caches. It supports tightly coupled memories for fast and deterministic access to code and data, and its Memory Management Unit enables the use of virtual memory.

Geon connects to main memory and peripherals via 32-bit wide AMBA® AHB™ or AXI data and instruction buses. Its default configuration includes up to 32 general purpose registers, a tick-timer, a programmable interrupt controller, and an advanced power management unit. Options include modules for debug, floating point, vectored interrupt control, ROM patching, and hardware multiplication and division. The processor can be extended to execute the rich set of DSP extensions of the BA2x ISA, or to handle custom instructions using its inline coprocessor interface.

Geon supports the BA2x instruction set, which provides extreme code density without compromises in performance, ease of use, or scalability. It features:

  • A linear, 32-bit address space
  • Variable length instructions: 16, 24, 32, or 48 bits
  • Simple memory addressing modes
  • A configurable number of 12 to 32 general purpose registers 
  • Efficient flow-control, arithmetic, and load/store instructions
  • Floating point and DSP extensions

Support and Services

The core as delivered is warranted against defects for 90 days from purchase. Thirty days of phone and email technical support are included, starting with the first interaction. Additional maintenance and support options are available.

IP Integration Services are also available to help minimize time to market for Geon-based systems.


The core is available for ASICs in synthesizable Verilog source code, and includes everything required for successful implementation. The core is delivered with software development tools Windows and Linux, with the BeyondStudio™ Eclipse-based IDE interface.

Additional microcontroller peripherals may be ordered for pre-integration and delivery with the core, individually or in a complete platform. IP Integration Services are also available to help integrate the processor with memory controllers, image compression, or other CAST IP cores.

Related Content

Features List

Built-in protection of code and data in a 32-bit compact, low-power, royalty-free, processor IP core.

Secure Execution

  • Protects sensitive code and data during execution, storage, and transfer to/from the processor
  • Uses two or more cryptographically isolated secure execution contexts
  • Agnostic to cryptographic primitives: 
    • uses lowest-overhead Keccak-based (SHA3) crypto engine by default; 
    • can alternatively support any cryptographic hash functions and symmetric cipher

Low-Power Operation

  • Extreme Code Density of the BA2x™ ISA minimizes instruction memory area and power consumption
  • Advanced Power Management
    • Dynamic clock gating and power shut-off of unused units
    • Software- and hardware-controlled clock frequency
    • Wake-up on tick timer or external interrupt
  • Small silicon footprint: just 35K gates on 90nm

Processing Efficiency

  • The processor core can be clocked at over 800 MHz in 28nm and 16nm processes

Optional Processor Units 

  • Programmable Vectored Interrupt Controller Unit
  • Timer Unit
  • Debug Unit:MDB and Trace port support
  • ROM patching Unit
  • Floating Point Unit
  • Hardware Multiplier/Divider

Easy Software Development

  • Non-intrusive JTAG CPU and system debug/trace 
  • Complex chained watchpoint and breakpoint conditions
  • BeyondStudio™ complete IDE for Windows or Linux (Eclipse)
  • Ported libraries and operating systems

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