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Subnanosecond pulses of hot electron luminescence are shown to be generated coincident with logic state switching of individual devices in CMOS circuits. These pulses are used to directly observe 90 ps gate delays in a ring oscillator as well as the logic switching and gate delays of a counter. By use of a detector with both space- and time-resolution, the dynamics of all the gates of the circuit are simultaneously measured. This noninvasive technique can be extended to smaller device size, as well as probing from the backside of the wafer. The optical emission may provide an alternative to electron beam testing for measuring the dynamics of high-speed CMOS circuits.
Date of Publication: July 1997