Fallen Leaf Lake

Invited Speakers

Clemens Ostermaier


The role of defects on reliability aspects in GaN power devices

Gallium nitride (GaN) offers fundamental advantages over silicon. In particular the higher critical electrical field makes it very attractive for power semiconductor devices with outstanding specific dynamic on-state resistance and smaller capacitances compared to silicon switches, which makes GaN HEMTs great for high speed switching.


However, defects in GaN epitaxial layers grown on silicon substrate have been a long standing topic going hand-in-hand with the understanding of reliability aspects of such devices. This talk summarizes the current understanding of the most relevant defects in GaN power HEMTs:


Interface defects controlling the electron concentration in the device channel, the lateral 2-dimensional electron gas, and buffer defects required to establish a vertically insulating GaN buffer. The latter is typically achieved by introducing Carbon atoms during the buffer growth acting dominantly as acceptor-like defect states. Finally, some of the roles that these defects on reliability and device aspects will be discussed.

Clemens Ostermaier has received his master’s degree in semiconductor engineering from Kyungpook National University in Daegu/South Korea in 2008 and his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Vienna University of Technology in 2011, where he a graduated with promotio sub auspiciis, the highest possible honor in education in Austria. He joined Infineon Technologies Austria in 2010 as part of the development team of GaN power devices with special interest and passion on the technology, design and reliability aspects of such devices. Since 2019 he is also working as a university lecturer at the Vienna University of Technology. He has supervised several PhD and master students and authored and co-authored over 30 peer-reviewed scientific journal publications, more than 50 conference contributions and over 20 international patent and patent applications in the field of power semiconductors.

Sofie Beyne

imec / KU Leuven

Electromigration Reliability

Electromigration (EM) drastically decreases the reliability of electronic interconnects, as it leads to voiding of metal lines. In order to mitigate or inhibit electromigration failures, it is of foremost importance to understand the mechanisms by which they occur. Therefore, a reliable and relatively fast test method is required. Because under operation conditions it might take years before EM failures happen, the presently used, standard electromigration test methods are based on accelerated testing. In order to then extrapolate the observed lifetimes to real use conditions, Black’s law, which was discovered in the late 1960’s for aluminum lines [1], is used. Its application to modern-day interconnects, however, is becoming increasingly more questionable and often can no longer provide the required understanding that the semiconductor industry is seeking to continue scaling while meeting reliability specs [2]. Moreover, these accelerated EM tests are time-consuming and destructive.

In this talk we discuss a new EM test methodology, based on low-frequency noise (LFN) measurements and validate it by both experiments and theoretical modeling.

The main advantages of the low-frequency noise methodology over the standard accelerated EM tests are that it is non-destructive, much faster, closer to operation conditions and provides more fundamental understanding.

We show the application of LFN measurements to investigate EM mechanisms in scaled interconnects. Cu grain boundary diffusion was identified as the prime concern for EM reliability in lines of sub 30nm ½ pitch.

Furthermore, at line-widths below 20nm, Cu will have to be replaced by alternative metals due to its unacceptable resistivity increase [3] and insufficient electromigration performance [4]. Potential candidates are cobalt, ruthenium and tungsten. In this talk we show how the LFN measurements can be used to study their EM activation energy.


[1] Black, J. R. Electromigration—A brief survey and some recent results. IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, 16, 4 (1969), 338–347.

[2] Lloyd, J. Black’s law revisited—Nucleation and growth in electromigration failure. Microelectronics Reliability 47, 9-11 (sep 2007), 1468–1472.

[3] Kapur, P., McVittie, J. P., and Saraswat, K. C. Technology and reliability constrained future copper interconnects. I. Resistance modeling. IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, 49, 4 (2002), 590–597.

[4] Kapur, P., Chandra, G., McVittie, J., and Saraswat, K. Technology and reliability constrained future copper interconnects. II. Performance implications. IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices 49, 4 (apr 2002), 598–604.

Sofie Beyne is a PhD student at imec and KU Leuven, researching electromigration in nano-interconnects. For this work she was granted a scholarship by the fund for scientific research in Flanders (FWO). In 2015 she received a master’s degree in materials science and engineering from KU Leuven, which included a one-year exchange at EPFL in Switzerland. She has authored and co-authored several peer-reviewed scientific journal publications and conference papers.

Jason Ryan


Frequency-Modulated Charge Pumping for Highly Leaky MOS Devices

Charge pumping (CP) is one of the most relied upon techniques used to quantify interface defects in metal-oxide-semiconductor devices. However, conventional charge pumping is easily hindered by excessive gate leakage currents which render the technique unsuitable for advanced technology nodes. This presentation will discuss the so-called frequency-modulated charge pumping methodology, in which conventional quasi-dc charge pumping is transformed into a true ac measurement. The ac detection scheme is highly resistant to gate leakage currents and extends the usefulness of charge pumping as a defect monitoring tool for future technologies. The topics covered include (1) a basic physical understanding and measurement techniques for conventional CP, (2) measurement challenges associated with excessive leakage current and the failure of conventional methods, (3) physical basis for leakage immunity and experimental methods for implementing simple frequency-modulated CP, and (4) examples using highly leaky technologies and applications relevant to reliability monitoring

Dr. Ryan is an electrical engineer and leader of the Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Project in the Alternative Computing Group of the Nanoscale Device Characterization Division of the Physical Measurement Laboratory (PML) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). He received the B.S. degree in Physics from Millersville University, Millersville, PA in 2004. He received the M.S. degree in Engineering Science and the Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA in 2006 and 2010, respectively. In 2010, he was awarded a National Research Council post-doctoral fellowship which he spent at NIST where he is currently employed as a staff member and project leader. He has been involved in the technical and managerial committees of both the IEEE IRPS and IEEE IIRW conferences, having served as the general chair of the IIRW in 2015.

Barry J. O’Sullivan


Reliability engineering enabling continued logic for memory device scaling

Continued scaling of DRAM technologies has required a limitation of the power dissipation from the logic components on-chip, while downscaling both transistor oxide thickness and gate length. One route to enable further scaling, while circumventing excessive leakage currents, is the integration of high-κ metal-gate (HKMG) stacks into the logic and high-voltage (e.g. I/O) devices. The requirement of a gate-first flow for devices in the peripheral region introduces significant reliability challenges. Even though Negative Bias Temperature Instability (NBTI) performance of CMOS and memory thermal budget compatible transistors are aligned with conventional HKMG integration with thin oxide devices, it is not the case for thick oxide devices. In particular, it will be shown that strong lifetime degradation is observed as soon as high-k layers are deposited on top of the thick interfacial layer. The NBTI degradation is correlated to a diffusion of Ti/Hf (potentially Al) elements from the HKMG gate stack down to the interfacial layer. Potential solutions for this reliability challenges will be reported. A detailed study of NBTI-degradation, supported by physical analysis, assessing the impact of various tuning components within the stack (interface layer, high-κ fluorination and/or cap, metal gate) will be presented. Potential solutions for the reliability challenges of high-κ metal gate (HKMG) integration into DRAM high-voltage peripheral logic devices are reported.

Barry J. O’Sullivan received the B.Sc. degree in Applied Physics from University of Limerick, Ireland in 1998. He received the M.Eng.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees (Microelectronics), from the Tyndall Institute, Cork, Ireland, for studies characterizing defects at the silicon/dielectric interface, in 2000 and 2004, respectively. Since then, he has been at IMEC, Leuven, Belgium, initially quantifying defects and reliability of advanced gate stacks for the 45 nm and 32 nm CMOS technology nodes. From 2009-2016 he worked on high efficiency silicon solar cell design, fabrication and characterisation, while his current research focus includes reliability characterization for advanced logic and memory applications.

Cristiano Capasso


Statistical implementations for reliability assessment and cost cutting in automotive manufacturing

Automotive manufacturing requires a higher level of reliability performance especially when dealing with safety systems (e.g. autonomous driving). Wafer fabrication foundries, in collaboration with their customers, own the responsibility to demonstrate that these levels are met according to meaningful statistical procedures. With this work we will share and discuss pros and cons of data acquisition and data analysis methodologies, together with their impact on turnaround time, cost and accuracy. We will introduce new ideas on how to refine our understanding of the data and how to optimize lifetime extrapolations by leveraging statistical learning from interdisciplinary studies. A sample case will be presented to show the reliability impact of these new ideas on the silicon manufacturing line.

Cristiano Capasso earned his Doctor Degree in Physics from the University of Rome in 1984. He started his career in the USA as a Post Doctoral researcher at the University of Florida and worked in academia for 10 years. His main body of work was on solid state physics, bio-physics, synchrotron radiation, x-ray optics, x-ray microscopy and x-ray lithography. He joined Motorola in 1994, later Freescale, to continue x-ray lithography development. Over the course of 2 decades with Motorola/Freescale, Cristiano led Cu interconnect reliability activity, worked on high-K metal gates integration schemes, transferred CMOS technologies to foundries, and supported reliability and test procedures of products for network operations. In 2013 he joined GLOBALFOUNDRIES in Malta, NY where he built the product reliability team and lab dealing with both wafer level and package level reliability. He is currently the corporate automotive reliability representative, and responsible for manufacturing reliability & statistical modeling methods.

Michael Waltl

Institute for Microelectronics at the TU Wien

Defect Spectroscopy in MOS Transistors

Modern transistors fabricated employing silicon wafers have been scaled down to dimensions in the nanometer regime. Despite the advantage of an increased switching rate and a larger number of devices per unit area, severe reliability issues have to be tackled in these devices. The most prominent reliability issue which degrades the device performance is know as the bias temperature instability (BTI). BTI manifests itself as a threshold voltage drift and its characterization and modeling has received much attention during the last decades. For instance (stress) IDVG, CV or DCIV measurements, but also measure-stress-measure (MSM) schemes are typically used. However, mostly large area devices have been investigated in that regard, with the drawback that only the average response of many defects can be studied. This enables only the application of mostly empirical models to explain the intricate behavior of charge trapping. Conversely, by probing nanoscale transistors, single charge transition events of individual traps can be assessed. This enables a microscopic zoom mechanism and allows a detailed study of the charge trapping kinetics and physics of single defects. To probe single defects at a great level of detail the time-dependent defects spectroscopy (TDDS) has been proposed. In order to model the charge trapping kinetics, an advanced defect model has been developed around the non-radiative multiphonon (NMP) theory.

Michael Waltl received the PhD degree in electrical engineering from the TU Wien, Austria, and is currently employed as Senior Scientist at the Institute for Microelectronics at the TU Wien. As part of his scientific work in recent years on bias temperature instability in nanoscale transistors he was put in charge of the development of defect probing characterization environments. Currently, Dr. Waltl is the director of the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Single-Defect Spectroscopy in Semiconductor Devices and is responsible for the device characterization laboratory at the Institute for Microelectronics. His scientific focus is put on experimental characterization and modeling of performance degradation issues prevalent in semiconductor devices and devices with more exotic 2D materials. He received the best paper award at IRPS 2014, has been involved in the technical committee of the ESREF 2014, has co-supervised several PhD, master and bachelor students and authored and co-authored over 20 peer-reviewed scientific journal publications, and more than 30 conference contributions.


Gennadi Bersuker

The Aerospace Corporation

Reliability beyond conventional device degradation: NVM variability

Interest in nonvolatile memories is driven, to a large degree, by their unique capabilities in the analog implementations of neuromorphic computing. Since neural network (NN) algorithms impose strict requirements on NVM characteristics, generic approach to reliability assessment may not be effective in assessing devices for specific NNs. Fluctuation/drift of NVM parameters values during network operation impede analog memory performance: it points to variability as one of the major reliability issue neuromorphic computing faces. Several aspects of NVM evaluation including parameters to monitor and test conditions relevant to circuitry operations are discussed.

Gennadi Bersuker focuses on the physical and electrical characterization and reliability of microelectronic devices employed in various space-related applications. Prior to joining The Aerospace Corporation, he has been a Fellow of SEMATECH working on development and characterization of advanced technology devices, in particular, scaled transistors, high-k gate stacks, non-volatile and charge trapping memories, III-V and 2D logic among other programs, with the goal to identify materials atomic/structural features affecting device electrical parameters. He is the Editor of IEEE Transactions on Device Materials and Reliability and has been involved in organizing, chairing, or serving as a committee member in a number of technical conferences, including IRPS, IEDM, APS, IRW, etc. He has published over 450 papers on the semiconductor processing and reliability and electronic properties of dielectrics.

Luca Larcha

University of Modena

Simulation of emerging memory / neuromorphic devices: a defect-centric modeling platform linking material to devices

Memory devices are approaching sizes where impact of defects is becoming crucial for device engineering accounting for variability and reliability prediction. We present a defect-centric multiscale modeling platform that can be used for the simulation and development of emerging memory and neuromorphic devices. This defect-centric modeling approach enables a much stronger link between material properties and electric device performances that allows i) to better characterize and understand material properties including defects; ii) to explain the device physics behind a memory behavior and iii) to engineer/optimize the memory cell/array to match the electrical specs (e.g. low-variability, symmetry/linearity, low voltage/low current, good endurance & retention) required for both memory and neuromorphic computing applications.


The modeling and simulation platform is used to simulated the electrical behavior of resistive-, phase change-, ferroelectric-random access memory (i.e. RRAM, PCRAM, Fe-RAM, respectively).


Due to the variety of novel mechanisms (e.g. bond breakage, ion drift and diffusion, polarization changes) associated with the new materials, memory device operations and reliability are modeled by consistently accounting for both charge transport mechanisms (i.e. defect-assisted, tunneling, drift and diffusion) and the atomic-level material modifications due to the distortion and breakage of atomic bonds, chemical reactions (e.g. redox) and diffusion of atomic species (e.g. vacancies, interstitial ions) in a multiscale fashion.


Luca Larcher graduated in Electronic Engineering from the University of Padova, Italy, in 1998. He received his Ph.D. degree in “Information Engineering” from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in 2002, where is Full Professor of Electronics. Since April 1st is with Applied Materials.

His research interests include the modeling and characterization of non-volatile memory devices and of physical mechanisms governing the charge transport and degradation in high-k dielectrics, the characterization and design of integrated circuits for both communications and energy harvesting applications, and printed technology solutions for audio / automotive transducers.

He authored and co-authored one book and three book chapters, and more than 220 technical papers published on international journals and proceedings of international conferences. He has joined the technical and executive committees of the IEEE-IEDM (2006-2007, 2013-2015 – he was the chairman of the Modeling and simulation Committee in 2015), IEEE-IRPS (2011-2012, 2017-2019) and IIRW (2013-2018, he served as Technical Program Chair 2017) conferences. His H index is 41.

Sunil Mehta


Review of Embedded Memory Technologies and Reliability Testing Methods

Embedded memories are becoming increasingly important as more and more semiconductor chips incorporate distributed intelligence and data storage into microcontrollers, IOT devices and other products. In this paper we will review the wide variety of embedded memory technologies used in the industry, particularly non-volatile memory (NVM). These range from one-time-programmable (OTP) memories to more complex NVM solutions like flash and EEPROM, which use different programming methods such as hot-electron injection, Fowler-Nordheim tunneling and charge-trapping. In addition, there are many emerging memory technologies such as MRAM, ReRAM and PCRAM, which are more scalable to advanced process nodes. We will also review the reliability testing methods which are appropriate to each memory solution based on the physics of the memory cell as well as the use case of the embedded memory (e.g., the number of programming cycles). Qualification tests should address both intrinsic and extrinsic failures specific to the memory in question to guarantee long-term reliability.

Sunil has worked in the semiconductor industry for over 35 years at companies ranging from startups to established chipmakers such as Intel and AMD. For most of his career, he has focused on the area of embedded non-volatile memory technology development. Sunil is currently the Director of Memory Technology in the Advanced R&D group at Maxim Integrated, where he is responsible for developing NVM solutions for Maxim’s business units jointly with external fab and IP partners. Prior to Maxim, his two most recent positions were Sr. Director of Technology at Atmel and Director of Technology at Lattice Semiconductor, where he led the development of leading-edge embedded NVM technologies for differentiated microcontroller and FPGA products respectively. Sunil has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from IIT-Bombay and two graduate degrees in engineering from MIT. He has authored 17 publications and holds 92 US patents.