DEEP SUBMICRON CMOS VLSI CIRCUIT RELIABILITY MODELING, SIMULATION AND DESIGN

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2005-11-29

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Abstract

CMOS VLSI circuit reliability modeling and simulation have attracted intense research interest in the last two decades, and as a result almost all IC Design For Reliability (DFR) tools now try to incrementally simulate device wearout mechanisms in iterative ways. These DFR tools are capable of accurately characterizing the device wearout process and predicting its impact on circuit performance. Nevertheless, excessive simulation time and tedious parameter testing process often limit popularity of these tools in product design and fabrication.

This work develops a new SPICE reliability simulation method that shifts the focus of reliability analysis from device wearout to circuit functionality. A set of accelerated lifetime models and failure equivalent circuit models are proposed for the most common MOSFET intrinsic wearout mechanisms, including Hot Carrier Injection (HCI), Time Dependent Dielectric Breakdown (TDDB), and Negative Bias Temperature Instability (NBTI). The accelerated lifetime models help to identify the most degraded transistors in a circuit in terms of the device's terminal voltage and current waveforms. Then corresponding failure equivalent circuit models are incorporated into the circuit to substitute these identified transistors. Finally, SPICE simulation is performed again to check circuit functionality and analyze the impact of device wearout on circuit operation. Device wearout effects are lumped into a very limited number of failure equivalent circuit model parameters, and circuit performance degradation and functionality are determined by the magnitude of these parameters.

In this new method, it is unnecessary to perform a large number of small-step SPICE simulation iterations. Therefore, simulation time is obviously shortened in comparison to other tools. In addition, a reduced set of failure equivalent circuit model parameters, rather than a large number of device SPICE model parameters, need to be accurately characterized at each interim wearout process. Thus device testing and parameter extraction work are also significantly simplified. These advantages will allow circuit designers to perform quick and efficient circuit reliability analyses and to develop practical guidelines for reliable electronic designs.

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