Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Detailed Study and Projection of Hard Breakdown Evolution in Ultra-Thin Gate Oxides



John S. Suehle, Baozhong Zhu, Yuan Chen, J B. Bernstein


The mechanism responsible for post soft-breakdown leakage current increase in ultra-thin oxides depends on the nature of the conducting filament formed at the instant of dielectric breakdown. The conductance of the filament formed during soft breakdown has been observed to be either stable until hard breakdown occurs or to continually increase with time. The acceleration factors for predicting hard breakdown are different in each case. Recent experimental results suggest that the 'hardness' of the first breakdown influences the type of conducting filament formed during the soft breakdown event the time in which hard breakdown subsequently occurs. Electron current-induced defect formation appears to be the driving force for the eventual hard breakdown event.
Microelectronics Reliability


reliability, silicon dioxide, dielectric breakdown, TDDB, CMOS


Suehle, J. , Zhu, B. , Chen, Y. and Bernstein, J. (2005), Detailed Study and Projection of Hard Breakdown Evolution in Ultra-Thin Gate Oxides, Microelectronics Reliability, [online], (Accessed April 15, 2024)
Created February 27, 2005, Updated October 12, 2021