The transistor is one of the basic building blocks of modern electronics, and the life expectancy or reliability of a transistor is often projected based on the response to an accelerated stress condition. Changes in the transistor's threshold voltage (the point at which it switches on) are typically monitored during these lifetime projections.
The threshold voltage of certain types of transistors (p-type) is known to shift during accelerated stresses involving negative voltages and elevated temperatures, a characteristic known as "negative bias temperature instability" (NBTI). This threshold voltage shift recovers to varying degrees once the stress has ended. This "recovery" makes the task of measuring the threshold voltage shift very challenging and greatly complicates the prediction of a transistor's lifetime.
As semiconductor devices reach nanoscale (billionth of a meter) dimensions, measuring this device reliability accurately becomes more important because of new materials, new structures, higher operating temperatures and quantum mechanical effects. Many NBTI studies show that the accuracy of the measured threshold voltage shift (and consequent accuracy of the lifetime prediction) depends strongly on how quickly the threshold voltage can be measured after the stress is finished. So, NIST engineers began making threshold voltage measurements at very fast speeds, leaving as little as two microsceconds (millionths of a second) between measurements instead of the traditional half-second interval. What they observed was surprising.
"We found that NBTI recovery not only returned the threshold voltage to its pre-stressed state but briefly passed this mark and temporarily allowed the transistor to behave better than the pre-stressed state," says Jason Campbell, a member of the NIST team (that includes Kin Cheung and John Suehle) who presented this finding at the recent Symposium on VLSI Technology in Hawaii. The NBTI effect generally is believed to result from the buildup of positive charges, he explained, but the new observations at NIST indicate the presence of negative charge as well. NIST's ultra-fast and ultra-sensitive measurements revealed that during recovery, the positive charges dissipated faster than the electrons, giving the system a momentary negative charge and heightened conductivity.
To date, Campbell says, transistor manufacturers only consider the accumulation of positive charges to predict the longevity of their microelectronics devices. "But as these systems get smaller and smaller, the electron trapping phenomenon we observed will need to be considered as well to ensure that transistor lifetime predictions stay accurate," he says. "Our research will now focus on developing and refining the ability to measure that impact."
Michael E. Newman | EurekAlert!
System draws power from daily temperature swings
16.02.2018 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Researchers at Kiel University develop extremely sensitive sensor system for magnetic fields
15.02.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).
Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
16.02.2018 | Information Technology
16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy