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Self-Consistent Approach to Leakage Power and Temperature Estimation to Predict Thermal Runaway in FinFET Circuits

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5 Author(s)

In this paper, we propose a methodology to solve leakage power self-consistently with temperature to predict thermal runaway. We target 28-nm-technology-node FinFET-based circuits as they are more prone to thermal runaway because of self-heating and less efficient heat dissipation compared to bulk metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors. We have generated thermal models for logic cells-inverter, NAND, and NOR-to self-consistently determine the temperature map of a circuit block. Our cell-level thermal models account for lateral heat flow (contribution of neighboring cells) along with vertical heat dissipation to the heat sink. We predict positive feedback between subthreshold leakage and temperature for all the cells in a given floor plan. Our proposed condition for thermal runaway shows the design tradeoff between the primary input (PI) activity of a circuit block, subthreshold leakage at the room temperature, and thermal resistance of the package. We show that, in FinFET circuits, thermal runaway can occur at the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors-specified subthreshold leakage (of 150 for high performance) for a nominal PI activity of 0.5 and typical package thermal resistance. In addition, we show that the maximum temperature rise in an integrated circuit is limited by package limitations.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems  (Volume:26 ,  Issue: 11 )