An array-based odometer system for statistically significant circuit aging characterization

John Keane, Wei Zhang, Chris H. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Variations in the number and characteristics of charges or traps contributing to transistor degradation lead to a distribution of device "ages" at any given time. This issue is well understood in the study of time dependent dielectric breakdown, but is just beginning to be thoroughly addressed under bias temperature instability (BTI) and hot carrier injection (HCI) stress. In this paper, we present a measurement system that facilitates efficient statistical aging measurements involving the latter two mechanisms in an array of ring oscillators. Microsecond measurements for minimal BTI recovery, as well as frequency shift measurement resolution ranging down to the error floor of 0.07% are achieved with three beat frequency detection systems working in tandem. Measurement results from a 65 nm test chip show that fresh frequency and the stress-induced shift are uncorrelated, both the mean and standard deviation of that shift increase with stress, and the standard deviation/mean ratio decreases with stress time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5959997
Pages (from-to)2374-2385
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received March 14, 2011; revised May 26, 2011; accepted June 06, 2011. Date of publication July 22, 2011; date of current version September 30, 2011. This paper was approved by Associate Editor Stefan Rusu. This work was supported in part by the SRC under award 2008-HJ-1805, and in part by Broadcom and the IBM PhD Fellowship program.


  • Aging
  • bias temperature instability
  • circuit reliability
  • digital measurements
  • hot carriers


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