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Recent changes in CMOS device structures and materials motivated by impending atomistic and quantum-mechanical limitations have profoundly influenced the nature of delay and power variability. Variations in process, temperature, power supply, wear-out, and use history continue to strongly influence delay. The manner in which tolerance is specified and accommodated in high-performance design changes dramatically as CMOS technologies scale beyond a 90-nm minimum lithographic linewidth. In this paper, predominant contributors to variability in new CMOS devices are surveyed, and preferred approaches to mitigate their sources of variability are proposed. Process-, device-, and circuit-level responses to systematic and random components of tolerance are considered. Exploratory, novel structures emerging as evolutionary CMOS replacements are likely to change the nature of variability in the coming generations.
Date of Publication: July 2006