Nanometer Reliability

Nanometer Reliability by Danny Rittman PhD

Danny Rittman PhD – Aug 2022


The great success of the semiconductor industry has been driven by the advancement in transistor technology in its early era. The industry could improve the performance of its products by shrinking the transistor dimensions and integrating more transistors. However, this strategy is becoming less effective, as the transistors demand substantial interconnections between them, and the speed of integrated circuit products is dominated by interconnections.

Innovations are necessary for interconnection technology to overcome the barrier. As we step into the deep nanometer arena, major reliability issues arise. Among them are hot electron degradation, Electromigration & Self-Heating, Oxide Breakdown (TDDB), P transistor degradation (NBTI), latch-up, ESD, Voltage Drop, Soft Error, and packaging issues. “Within high-k gate dielectrics, metal gate, copper/low-k interconnects, the introduction of new materials, processes, and devices presents challenges.

Bulk material and interface properties usually define intrinsic reliability characteristics, while defects establish extrinsic reliability characteristics. Process integration flow, techniques, and process tools often create first-order reliability effects (both intrinsic and extrinsic). The importance of characterizing these materials and processes for reliability as well as for performance during the early development stage cannot be overstated.

System-on-chip (SOC) products that typically integrate new functions and often include large memories (SRAM, DRAM, and Flash) bring about unique design, integration, and test challenges. Microsystems require consideration of a wider range of failure modes than microelectronics alone and introduce new failure modes because of the interaction of diverse technologies that would not be present if each technology were manufactured on a separate chip.

In addition, optical, chemical, and biometric sensors and micromachines (MEMs) require the development of new accelerated tests and failure mechanism models. Electrostatic discharge (ESD), latch-up, and packaging in the nanometer regime also raise reliability concerns.

Even though ESD and latch-up effects have been well characterized for many years, scaling brings about new issues and concerns. Similarly, the increased complexity and performance requirements for packaging these products act as an exponential multiplier for many of the failure mechanisms besides introducing new ones.

Finally, two critical crosscut issues are related to design and testing. These may be the more difficult challenges as the work needed to reach solutions is typically dispersed across many organizations, sites, and partners. Integration efforts tend to be less focused than material and device issues.

Although the challenges may be clear, the paths to finding solutions tend to be fragmented and obscure; consequently, these items require special research focus.

This document is neither a complete nor exhaustive list of reliability challenges for the ITRS. Certainly, any area of technological advancement includes its own set of potential reliability problems and new challenges. Instead, those broadest or most critical challenges are highlighted.”

The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) – Critical Reliability Challenges for the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS); March 2004 System Reliability has been practiced for decades now. However, as we move into the deep nanometer arena, reliability estimation methods need to be looked into in the new light of today’s realities. In this paper, we’ll discuss the nature of reliability issues for nanometer design.

We discuss various failure phenomena that are detrimental to the reliability of ICs. We then describe the industry way to approach this subject and EDA solutions.

Read the Complete article here below.


GBT Technologies Inc
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