Electrical overstress and electrostatic discharge failure in silicon MOS devices

2010-11-23T10:18:54Z (GMT) by Martin J. Tunnicliffe
This thesis presents an experimental and theoretical investigation of electrical failure in MOS structures, with a particular emphasis on short-pulse and ESD failure. It begins with an extensive survey of MOS technology, its failure mechanisms and protection schemes. A program of experimental research on MOS breakdown is then reported, the results of which are used to develop a model of breakdown across a wide spectrum of time scales. This model, in which bulk-oxide electron trapping/emission plays a major role, prohibits the direct use of causal theory over short time-scales, invalidating earlier theories on the subject. The work is extended to ESD stress of both polarities. Negative polarity ESD breakdownis found to be primarily oxide-voltage activated, with no significant dependence on temperature of luminosity. Positive polarity breakdown depends on the rate of surface inversion, dictated by the Si avalanche threshold and/or the generation speed of light-induced carriers. An analytical model, based upon the above theory is developed to predict ESD breakdown over a wide range of conditions. The thesis ends with an experimental and theoretical investigation of the effects of ESD breakdown on device and circuit performance. Breakdown sites are modelled as resistive paths in the oxide, and their distorting effects upon transistor performance are studied. The degradation of a damaged transistor under working stress is observed, giving a deeper insight into the latent hazards of ESD damage.