Microchip PIC32CK 32-bit Arm Cortex-M33 MCU combines Hardware Security Module with Arm TrustZone for IoT cybersecurity compliance

Microchip PIC32CK is a new family of 32-bit Arm Cortex-M33 microcontrollers clocked up to 120 MHz with Arm Trustzone and an optional integrated Hardware Security Module (HSM) that can help companies meet the cybersecurity requirements for consumer IoT devices and critical infrastructure mandated in the US, Europe, and other countries.

Two sub-families are available with the PIC32CK GC and PICK32CK SG with the latter integrating the HSM, and the company claims it is the first 32-bit device on the market that combines an HSM with TrustZone technology for optional security. The PIC32CK is also said to support ISO 26262 functional safety and ISO/SAE 21434 cybersecurity standards.

Microchip PIC32CK 32-bit MCU with HSM

Microchip PIC32CK specifications:

  • MCU core – Arm Cortex-M33 clocked at up to 120 MHz with 4KB combined instruction and data cache, TrustZone security
  • Memory and Storage
    • 128KB, 256KB, or 512KB SRAM
    • 512KB, 1MB, or 2MB flash
    • 128KB boot flash memory
    • 64KB of configuration flash memory (CFM)
    • Up to 4KB tightly coupled memory (TCM)
    • 8-bit/16-bit external bus interface (EBI) – Static memory controller for up to 256KB SRAM, PSRAM, LCD module, Flash (for 100-pin and 144-pin devices only)
    • Up to 2x SDHC Memory Card interfaces
  • Audio – 1x I2S
  • Networking – 10/100M Ethernet with support for IEEE 1588 (PTP), 802.3az (energy efficiency), WoL
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 high-speed port, 1x USB 2.0 full-speed (12Mbps) port
  • Other Peripheral interfaces
    • Up to 107x programmable I/O lines
    • 8x Serial Communication Interfaces (SERCOM) configurable as USART, I2C, SPI
    • 1x SQI (Serial Quad Interface)
    • 2x CAN Bus with support for CAN 2.0 A/B and CAN-FD
    • Position Decoder (PDEC)
    • 8-channel + 4-channel hardware DMA controllers
    • 4x 32-bit Timers/Counters for Control (TCC)
    • 4x 16-bit Timers/Counters for Control (TCC)
    • 32bit RTC, Watchdog Timer
    • Analog peripherals
      • 12-bit ADC module with 3Mbps
      • 2x analog comparators
      • 16×16 Peripheral Capacitive Touch Controller (PTC)
  • Security
    • Fully Isolated Hardware Security Module (HSM) – Note: PIC32CZ SG only
      • Secure root of trust and certificate authority
      • Key management and secure key storage
      • Secure boot and secure update
      • Cryptographic acceleration for
        • RSA, DSA and ECC public key cryptography with up to 4096-bit key length
        • AES encryption that is fully compliant with NIST FIPS 197 (256-bit key length)
        • Hash/MAC with MD-5, SHA-1, SHA-256, SHA-224, SHA-384, SHA-512 and SHA3 capability
    • TrustZone Secure Partitioning
      • Creation of trusted execution environment
      • IP protection
      • Hardware access control to code, memory and I/O
      • Secure factory provisioning is available.
  • Safety
    • ECC with fault injection on Flash
    • Global mBIST
    • Memory Protection Unit (MPU)
    • Write protection on key peripherals
    • Clock failure detection with fail-safe internal RC oscillator
    • Loopback on communications interfaces
  • Debugging
    • In-circuit and in-application programming/debugging with SWD and JTAG
    • Cortex-M debugger port
    • Supports 8x breakpoints and 4x watchpoints
    • IEEE 1149-compatible (JTAG) boundary scan
    • Non-intrusive hardware-based instruction trace, Secure Debugging
  • Operating Voltage – 1.71 to 3.63 V
  • Power management
    • Power-on Reset (POR) and Brown-Out Reset (BOR)
    • Programmable Low-Voltage Detect Module (LVD)
    • Multiple power management modes: Idle, Stand-by, Hibernate, SleepWalking peripherals
  • Packages
    • TQFP64 – 10x10mm, 0.5mm lead pitch, 50 GPIOs
    • TQFP100 – 14x14mm, 0.5mm lead pitch, 71 GPIOs
    • TQFP144 – 16x16mm, 0.4mm lead pitch, 108 GPIOs
  • Temperature Range – -40°C to +85°C
Microchip PIC32CK block diagram
Microchip PIC32CK block diagram

It’s not the first Microchip PIC32 microcontroller with a Hardware Security Module, and we wrote about the PIC32CZ CA Cortex-M7 microcontroller last October with higher performance and support for displays, but obviously, there’s no Arm TrustZone in a Cortex-M7 MCU. We also mentioned the PIC32CX SG MCU in the WBZ451 curiosity board a couple of years ago. You’ll find a summary of the differences between vairous PIC32 microcontrollers in the table below.


Software-wise, the new PIC32CK MCU family is supported by MPLAB Harmony v3 and Trust Platform Design Suite. Engineers can get started quickly or simply evaluate the new microcontrollers with the PIC32CK SG and PIC32CK GC Curiosity Ultra development boards sold under the EV33A17A and EV44P93A part numbers and equipped with an embedded programmer/debugger, as well as Arduino Uno R3 headers, a MikroBus connector for MikroElektronika Click boards, and 90-degree angle headers for Xplained Pro expansion boards. The development boards can be used for Bluetooth audio, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, and other proof-of-concept designs.

PIC32CK SG Curiosity Development Board
PIC32CK SG Curiosity Ultra Development Board (the PIC32CK CG model looks the same)

The PIC32CK family is now available for purchase in high-volume production quantities. Pricing for the PIC32CK CG (64-pin) starts at $6.13 in 5K+ quantities, and while I could not find pricing for the 64-pin PIC32CK SG, the 100-pin SKUs start at $7.57 in volume (5K+). The PIC32CK SG/CG Curiosity Ultra Development Board sells for $230.99. More details may be found on the product page and in the press release.

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