PhD Thesis

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« Multilevel aging phenomena analysis in complex ultimate CMOS designs ».

Author: N. Ruiz Amador
Advisor: L. Anghel
Co-advisor: V. Huard
President of jury: M. Nicolaidis
thesis reviewer(s): F. Marc, A. Bravaix,
These de Doctorat Université de Grenoble
Speciality: Micro et Nano Electronique
Defense: February 01 2012
ISBN: 978-2-84813-183-2


Integrated circuits evolution is driven by the trend of increasing operating frequencies and downscaling of the device size, while embedding more and more complex functionalities in a single chip. However, the continuation of the device-scaling race generates a number of technology challenges. For instance, the downscaling of transistor channel lengths induce short-channel effects (drain-induced barrier lowering and punch-through phenomena); high electric field in the devices tend to increase Hot electron effect (or Hot Carrier) and Oxide Dielectric Breakdown; higher temperatures in IC products generates an increase of the Negative Bias Temperature Instability (NBTI) effect on pMOS devices. Today, it is considered that the above reliability mechanisms are ones of the main causes of circuit degradation performance in the field. This dissertation will address the Hot Carrier (HC) and NBTI impacts on CMOS product electrical performances. A CAD bottom-up approach will be proposed and analyzed, based on the Design–in Reliability (DiR) methodology. With this purpose, a detailed analysis of the NBTI and the HC behaviours and their impact at different abstraction level is provided throughout this thesis. First, a physical framework presenting the NBTI and the HC mechanisms is given, focusing on electrical parameters weakening of nMOS and pMOS transistors. Moreover, the main analytical HC and NBTI degradation models are treated in details. In the second part, the delay degradation of digital standard cells due to NBTI, HCI is shown; an in-depth electrical CAD analysis illustrates the combined effects of design parameters and HCI/NBTI on the timing performance of standard cells. Additionally, a gate level approach is developed, in which HC and NBTI mechanisms are individually addressed. The consequences of the degradation at system level are presented in the third part of the thesis. With this objective, data extracted from silicon measures are compared against CAD estimations on two complexes IPs fabricated on STCMOS 45nm technologies. It is expected that the findings of this thesis highly contribute to the understanding of the NBTI and HC reliability wearout mechanisms at the system level.