Microelectronics Reliability

Impacts of NBTI and PBTI on SRAM static/dynamic noise margins and cell failure probability

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Negative and Positive Bias Temperature Instabilities (NBTI (in PFET) and PBTI (in NFET)) weaken MOSFETs with time. The impact of such device degradation can be severe in Static Random Access Memories (SRAMs) wherein stability is governed by relative strengths of FETs. Degradation in stability with time under 'worst case condition' gets more important because of reduced guard-banding due to process induced instability. In this work, circuit insights into worst-case conditions and effect of NBTI and PBTI, individually and in combination, on the stability of an SRAM cell are presented. It is shown that measurable quantities such as static noise-margin are not sufficient to completely understand the combined effect of NBTI and PBTI. Monte-Carlo simulations are performed in a 45 nm PDSOI technology to estimate the increase in cell failure probability with time. In worst case, NBTI and PBTI both degrade read stability (significantly) and writability (marginally). Further, we analyze the choice of optimal power supply considering the trade-off between short-term stability (due to process variations) and long-term stability (due to NBTI/PBTI) to achieve six-sigma confidence in SRAM cell robustness. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.