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Ultra-Thin Gate Oxide Reliability: Physical Models, Statistics, and Characterization



John S. Suehle


The present understanding of wear-out and breakdown in ultra-thin (tox2 gate dielectric films and issues relating to reliability projection are reviewed in this article. Recent evidence supporting a voltage driven model for defect generation and breakdown where energetic tunneling electrons induce defect generation and breakdown will be discussed. The concept of a critical number of defects required to cause breakdown and percolation theory will be used to describe the observed statistical failure distributions for ultra-thin gate dielectric breakdown. New observations of a voltage dependent voltage acceleration parameter and non-Arrhenius temperature dependence will be presented. The current understanding of soft breakdown will be discussed and proposed techniques for detecting breakdown presented. Finally, the implications of soft breakdown on circuit functionality and the applicability of applying current reliability characterization and analysis techniques to project the reliability of future alternative gate dielectrics will be discussed.
IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices


silicon dioxide, time dependent dielectric breakdown, reliability, CMOS, defect generation


Suehle, J. (2002), Ultra-Thin Gate Oxide Reliability: Physical Models, Statistics, and Characterization, IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices (Accessed May 22, 2024)


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Created June 1, 2002, Updated February 17, 2017