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We have investigated the effects of oxide soft breakdown (SBD) on the stability of CMOS 6T SRAM cells. Gate-to-diffusion leakage currents of 20-50 /spl mu/A at the n-FET source can result in a 50% reduction of noise margin. Breakdown at other locations in the cell may be less deleterious depending on n-FET width. This approach gives targets for tolerable values of leakage caused by gate-oxide breakdown.