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A probabilistic timing approach to hot-carrier effect estimation

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3 Author(s)
Ping-Chung Li ; Adv. Micro Devices Inc., Sunnyvale, CA, USA ; Stamoulis, G.I. ; Hajj, I.N.

In this paper, a new approach is presented for estimating the hot-carrier induced degradation in MOS transistors in VLSI circuits. With the decrease in feature size, many long-term reliability issues, such as HCE (Hot-Carrier Effect), TDDB (Time-Dependent Dielectric Breakdown), etc., can no longer be ignored during the design process. In this work we mainly concentrate on HCE; however, the approach can be applied to investigate other reliability issues. HCE is a long-term reliability issue that is caused by the cumulative effects of all possible inputs on the devices in the circuit over time. Existing techniques use deterministic circuit or timing simulation to estimate HCE and try to predict the age of the design by incorporating device degradation over time. As a result, all HCE simulators are too slow (especially if linked to SPICE-circuit simulators) for large circuits; and even when fast simulation techniques are used, user-specified deterministic input waveforms are needed and, hence, the results can only represent a small sample of operating conditions. In this paper, we propose a probabilistic timing approach. The advantage of probabilistic simulation is that we can explore the cumulative effects of all possible input waveform combinations in one run. The approach has been implemented in a general-purpose simulator and tested on a number of typical examples and benchmarks

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Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 10 )