While these electron devices and their reliability have long been important research areas at NIST, these technologies and the associated materials advance very quickly with older generations becoming obsolete in just a few years. Thus, there is an ever present need to develop and redefine new metrology tools and understand new physical phenomena to maximize performance and reliably in the newest technology generations. This requires a strong, fundamental understanding of the physics of electron device degradation, a solid understanding of what the measured data actually tells us, and a relentless pursuit of new and/or improved metrology tools.
The CMOS Device and Reliability Project strives to be at the forefront of both electron device reliability physics and reliability metrology. Some of the recent and ongoing activities include:
- Development of a highly sensitive electron spin resonance technique that provides un-paralleled access to the chemical and physical nature of atomic scale defects that limit device performance and reliability. The technique is also particularly amenable to soft matter studies of naturally occurring free radicals or purposely labeled biomolecular structures.
- Circuit speed (≥ GHz) reliability metrology that enables individual device level reliability to be evaluated in a highly realistic "circuit" environment. Allows one to determine the impact of device degradation on the critical timing of random logic circuitry.
- Massively parallel device level reliability characterization system that enables the simultaneous testing of several thousand devices. Delivers previously unattainable failure statistics that are increasingly necessary for advance device development.
- Development and refinement of the ubiquitous "charge pumping" measurement concept. Continuously adapting the metrology methods to suit modern needs while developing an improved physics-based understanding.
- Development of high speed characterization metrology to study resistive random access memory (RRAM) devices. Understanding the fast forming transients which determine the switching characteristics are critical to commercializing this promising memory technology.