Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering - (Ph.D.)
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Hieu Pham Trung Nguyen
The systematically growing power (heat) dissipation in CMOS transistors with each successive technology node is reaching levels which could impact its reliable operation. The emergence of technologies such as bulk/SOI FinFETs has dramatically confined the heat in the device channel due to its vertical geometry and it is expected to further exacerbate with gate-all-around transistors.
This work studies heat generation in the channel of semiconductor devices and measures its dissipation by means of wafer level characterization and predictive thermal simulation. The experimental work is based on several existing device thermometry techniques to which additional layout improvements are made in state of the art bulk FinFET and SOI FinFET 14nm technology nodes. The sensors produce excellent matching results which are confirmed through TCAD thermal simulation, differences between sensor types are quantified and error bars on measurements are established.
The lateral heat transport measurements determine that heat from the source is mostly dissipated at a distance of 1µm and 1.5µm in bulk FinFET and SOI FinFET, respectively. Heat additivity is successfully confirmed to prove and highlight the fact that the whole system needs to be considered when performing thermal analysis. Furthermore, an investigation is devoted to study self-heating with different layout densities by varying the number of fins and fingers per active region (RX).
Fin thermal resistance is measured at different ambient temperatures to show its variation of up to 70% between -40°C to 175°C. Therefore, the Si fin has a more dominant effect in heat transport and its varying thermal conductivity should be taken into account. The effect of ambient temperature on self-heating measurement is confirmed by supplying heat through thermal chuck and adjacent heater devices themselves.
Motivation for this work is the continuous evolution of the transistor geometry and use of exotic materials, which in the recent technology nodes made heat removal more challenging. This poses reliability and performance concerns. Therefore, this work studies the impact of self-heating on reliability testing at DC conditions as well as realistic CMOS logic operating (AC) conditions. Front-end-of-line (FEOL) reliability mechanisms, such as hot carrier injection (HCI) and non-uniform time dependent dielectric breakdown (TDDB), are studied to show that self-heating effects can impact measurement results and recommendations are given on how to mitigate them. By performing an HCI stress at moderate bias conditions, this dissertation shows that the laborious techniques of heat subtraction are no longer necessary. Self-heating is also studied at more realistic device switching conditions by utilizing ring oscillators with several densities and stage counts to show that self-heating is considerably lower compared to constant voltage stress conditions and degradation is not distinguishable.
Paliwoda, Peter Christopher, "Characterization of self-heating effects and assessment of its impact on reliability in finfet technology" (2018). Dissertations. 1389.