A Study of Nanometer Semiconductor Scaling Effects on Microelectronics Reliability

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White, Mark
Bernstein, Joseph B.
The desire to assess the reliability of emerging scaled microelectronics technologies through faster reliability trials and more accurate acceleration models is the precursor for further research and experimentation in this relevant field. The effect of semiconductor scaling on microelectronics product reliability is an important aspect to the high reliability application user. From the perspective of a customer or user, who in many cases must deal with very limited, if any, manufacturer's reliability data to assess the product for a highly-reliable application, product-level testing is critical in the characterization and reliability assessment of advanced nanometer semiconductor scaling effects on microelectronics reliability. This dissertation provides a methodology on how to accomplish this and provides techniques for deriving the expected product-level reliability on commercial memory products. Competing mechanism theory and the multiple failure mechanism model are applied to two separate experiments; scaled SRAM and SDRAM products. Accelerated stress testing at multiple conditions is applied at the product level of several scaled memory products to assess the performance degradation and product reliability. Acceleration models are derived for each case. For several scaled SDRAM products, retention time degradation is studied and two distinct soft error populations are observed with each technology generation: early breakdown, characterized by randomly distributed weak bits with Weibull slope Beta=1, and a main population breakdown with an increasing failure rate. Retention time soft error rates are calculated and a multiple failure mechanism acceleration model with parameters is derived for each technology. Defect densities are calculated and reflect a decreasing trend in the percentage of random defective bits for each successive product generation. A normalized soft error failure rate of the memory data retention time in FIT/Gb and FIT/cm2 for several scaled SDRAM generations is presented revealing a power relationship. General models describing the soft error rates across scaled product generations are presented. The analysis methodology may be applied to other scaled microelectronic products and key parameters.