CMOS, RFIC, Reliability, LNA, Oscillator, PA, Mixer, Nano, Modeling


The development of semiconductor technology has led to the significant scaling of the transistor dimensions -The transistor gate length drops down to tens of nanometers and the gate oxide thickness to 1 nm. In the future several years, the deep submicron devices will dominate the semiconductor industry for the high transistor density and the corresponding performance enhancement. For these devices, the reliability issues are the first concern for the commercialization. The major reliability issues caused by voltage and/or temperature stress are gate oxide breakdown (BD), hot carrier effects (HCs), and negative bias temperature instability (NBTI). They become even more important for the nanoscale CMOS devices, because of the high electrical field due to the small device size and high temperature due to the high transistor densities and high-speed performances. This dissertation focuses on the study of voltage and temperature stress-induced reliability issues in nanoscale CMOS devices and circuits. The physical mechanisms for BD, HCs, and NBTI have been presented. A practical and accurate equivalent circuit model for nanoscale devices was employed to simulate the RF performance degradation in circuit level. The parameter measurement and model extraction have been addressed. Furthermore, a methodology was developed to predict the HC, TDDB, and NBTI effects on the RF circuits with the nanoscale CMOS. It provides guidance for the reliability considerations of the RF circuit design. The BD, HC, and NBTI effects on digital gates and RF building blocks with the nanoscale devices – low noise amplifier, oscillator, mixer, and power amplifier, have been investigated systematically. The contributions of this dissertation include: It provides a thorough study of the reliability issues caused by voltage and/or temperature stresses on nanoscale devices – from device level to circuit level; The more real voltage stress case – high frequency (900 MHz) dynamic stress, has been first explored and compared with the traditional DC stress; A simple and practical analytical method to predict RF performance degradation due to voltage stress in the nanoscale devices and RF circuits was given based on the normalized parameter degradations in device models. It provides a quick way for the designers to evaluate the performance degradations; Measurement and model extraction technologies, special for the nanoscale MOSFETs with ultra-thin, ultra-leaky gate oxide, were addressed and employed for the model establishments; Using the present existing computer-aided design tools (Cadence, Agilent ADS) with the developed models for performance degradation evaluation due to voltage or/and temperature stress by simulations provides a potential way that industry could use to save tens of millions of dollars annually in testing costs. The world now stands at the threshold of the age of nanotechnology, and scientists and engineers have been exploring here for years. The reliability is the first challenge for the commercialization of the nanoscale CMOS devices, which will be further downscaling into several tens or ten nanometers. The reliability is no longer the post-design evaluation, but the pre-design consideration. The successful and fruitful results of this dissertation, from device level to circuit level, provide not only an insight on how the voltage and/or temperature stress effects on the performances, but also methods and guidance for the designers to achieve more reliable circuits with nanoscale MOSFETs in the future.


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Graduation Date





Yuan, Jiann S.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Degree Program

Electrical Engineering








Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)