Skip to Main Content
With the CMOS transistors being scaled to 28 nm and lower, negative bias temperature instability (NBTI) has become a major concern due to its impact on pMOS transistor aging process and the corresponding reduction in the long-term reliability of CMOS circuits. This paper investigates the effect of NBTI phenomenon on the setup and hold times of CMOS flip-flops. First, it is shown that the NBTI effect tightens the setup and hold timing constraints imposed on the flip-flops in the design. Second, an efficient algorithm is introduced for characterizing codependent setup and hold time contours of the flip-flops. Third, a multicorner optimization technique, which relies on mathematical programming to find the best transistor sizes, is presented to minimize the energy-delay product of the flip-flops under the NBTI effect. Finally, the proposed optimization technique is applied to true single-phase clock flip-flops to demonstrate its effectiveness.