Impact of MOSFET gate oxide breakdown on digital circuit operation and reliability

  • Kaczer B
  • Degraeve R
  • Rasras M
 et al. 
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The influence of FET gate oxide breakdown on the performance of a
ring oscillator circuit is studied using statistical tools, emission
microscopy, and circuit analysis. It is demonstrated that many hard
breakdowns can occur in this circuit without affecting its overall
function. Time-to-breakdown data measured on individual FETs are shown
to scale correctly to circuit level. SPICE simulations of the ring
oscillator with the affected FET represented by an equivalent circuit
confirm the measured influence of the breakdown on the circuit's
frequency, the stand-by and the operating currents. It is concluded that
if maintaining a digital circuit's logical functionality is the
sufficient reliability criterion, a nonzero probability exists that the
circuit will remain functional beyond the first gate oxide breakdown.
Consequently, relaxation of the present reliability criterion in certain
cases might be possible

Author-supplied keywords

  • CMOS digital integrated circuits
  • CMOSFET oscillators
  • Circuit reliability
  • Dielectric breakdown

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  • Ben Kaczer

  • Robin Degraeve

  • Mahmoud Rasras

  • Koen Van De Mieroop

  • Philippe J. Roussel

  • Guido Groeseneken

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