Novel applications require low-voltage PowerMOSFETs to be also used in the thermally unstable portion of their transfer-characteristic. By means of fast transient thermal measurements, this paper shows the formation of hotspots on the chip surface in such conditions and investigates the influence of self-heating mechanisms, in unstable as well as in stable operation. Simulations with accurate device models are performed to gain more insight into the causes of the observed effects. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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