Trade-offs between performance and reliability of sub 100-nm RF-CMOS technologies

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Arora, Rajan
Cressler, John D.
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The objective of this research is to develop an understanding of the trade-offs between performance and reliability in sub 100-nm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) CMOS technologies. Such trade-offs can be used to demonstrate high performance reliable circuits in scaled technologies. Several CMOS reliability concerns such as hot-carrier stress, ionizing irradiation damage, RF stress, temperature effects, and single-event effects are studied. These reliability mechanisms can cause temporary or permanent damage to the semiconductor device and to the circuits using them. Several improvements are made to the device layout and process to achieve optimum performance. Parasitics are shown to play a dominant role in the performance and reliability of sub 100-nm devices. Various techniques are suggested to reduce these parasitics, such as the use of the following: a) optimum device-width, b) optimum gate-finger to gate-finger spacing, c) optimum source/drain metal contact spacing, and d) floating-body/body-contact. The major contributions from this research are summarized as follows: 1) Role of floating-body effects on the performance and reliability of sub 100-nm CMOS-on-SOI technologies is investigated for the first time [1], [2]. It is demonstrated through experimental data and TCAD simulations that floating-body devices have improved RF performance but degraded reliability compared to body-contacted devices. 2) Floating-body effects in a cascode core is studied. Cascode cores are demonstrated to achieve much larger reliability lifetimes than a single device. A variety of cascode topologies are studied to achieve the trade-o s between performance and reliability for high-power applications [2]. 3) The use of body-contact to modulate the performance of devices and single-poledouble- throw (SPDT) switches is studied. The SPDT switch performance is shown to improve with a negative body-bias. 4) The impact of device width on the RF performance and reliability is studied. Larger width devices are shown to have greater degradation, posing challenging questions for RF design in strained-Si technologies [3]. 5) A novel study showing the e ect of source/drain metal contact spacing and gate-finger to gate-finger spacing on the device RF performance is carried out. Further, the impact of above on the hot-carrier, RF stress, and total-dose irradiation tolerance is studied [3], [4]. 6) Latchup phenomenon in CMOS is shown to be possible at cryogenic temperatures (below 50 K), and its consequences are discussed [5]. 7) A time-dependent device degradation model has been developed in technology computer aided design (TCAD) to model reliability in CMOS and SiGe devices. 8) The total-dose irradiation tolerance and hot-carrier reliability of 32-nm CMOSon- SOI technology is reported for the first time. The impact of HfO2 based gate dielectric on the performance and reliability is studied [6]. 9) The impact of technology scaling from 65-nm to 32-nm on the performance and reliability of CMOS technologies is studied [6]. 10) Cryogenic performance and reliability of 45-nm nFETs is investigated. The RF performance improves significantly at 77 K. The hot-carrier device reliability is shown to improve at low temperatures in short-channel CMOS technologies.
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