What is the life of a microchip

Predict microchip aging at the push of a button

Electronics must be extremely reliable, powerful and energy-efficient, especially in safety-critical areas, such as in automobiles or medical technology. Especially for such applications, developers are faced with the task of designing components that are particularly robust and durable. Aging simulations on the wear and tear of semiconductors should help them with this. For new types of manufacturing technologies, which are used more and more often, the standard simulations that have been possible up to now often do not provide the desired meaningful results. Fraunhofer IIS / EAS therefore offers modeling solutions for these cases, with which a realistic representation of the electronics aging is guaranteed over the service life and thus the development of reliable ICs.

With standard electronics, designers typically minimize the risk of failure by building safety margins into their designs. However, this so-called "over design" is expensive, time-consuming and can no longer be implemented with ever smaller technologies. The integration of reliable aging simulations in the IC development process makes this procedure superfluous. For this, however, highly accurate aging models are necessary, as is now being offered by Fraunhofer IIS / EAS. They are precisely tailored to the respective technology used and replace the simplistic and inconsistent models that have been used in the working environments of designers up to now. "Our services enable a unique, comprehensive and significantly more meaningful prediction for the service life of digital and analog circuits than any other approach used so far," emphasizes Roland Jancke, who heads the department for design methods at Fraunhofer IIS / EAS. “For the first time, we are offering our customers the option of verifying and validating the function of complete electronic systems under various conditions of use. In this way, you can be sure that a circuit will function reliably even under difficult environmental and operating conditions. And that without costly 'over design' or the risk of unexpected failures during operation. "

The aging models include the typical effects of Hot Carrier Injection (HCI) and Bias Temperature Instability (BTI). If necessary, they can be supplemented with other effects such as electromigration (EM). The offer of Fraunhofer IIS / EAS extends the usual state of the art by also covering more complex dependencies, for example the saturation behavior over the service life or voltage-dependent time exponents, which have not yet been available in the various design software. The researchers even developed a fast but accurate modeling solution for recovery effects such as those found in BTI aging. All models are consistently provided by Fraunhofer IIS / EAS for all common design environments worldwide. In order to be able to offer their solutions to American customers as well, the researchers are working with a distributor in the USA who specializes in design automation.