Single Event Latchup of a 3D 65nm CMOS Inverter : Single Event Latchup of a 3D 65nm CMOS Inverter

Requires: Victory Process Cell Mode / Victory Mesh / Victory Device
Minimum Versions: Victory Process 7.30.4.R / Victory Mesh 1.4.6.R / Victory Device 1.14.1.R

A common issue for any CMOS circuit is the existance of a parasitic thyristor resulting from the NPNP structure that exists between any complementary pair source/drain contacts. The four regions creating the NPNP thyristor, are the N-channel drain, N-channel Well, P-channed well, and P-channel drain respectively.

In order for the parasitic thyristor to trigger, the NPN and PNP transistors, making up the parasitic thyristor, must have a multiplied bipolar gain of at least unity at the operating condition of the circuit. Negating the triggering of this parasitic thyristor is simply a matter of ensuring that this condition almost never happens. There are two main ways to do this:

{indent}(i) Reduce the bipolar gain of the parasitic bipolars by heavily doping the respective base regions (the N and Pwell regions) This is most often done by doping the bottom of the trench. Careful consideration of where this doping is placed is required so as to not increase any parasitic capacitance significantly, which would slow the circuit response time.

{indent}(ii) use body tie contacts to connect the N-channel well to ground and the p-channel well to supply. What this does is to short the two bipolar base regions to their respective emitters, such that the parasitic bipolar transistors can never reach a conducting state. However, these body ties take up valuable circuit area, and so are used as sparsely as is practical. If these body ties are too far apart, the voltage drop can become sufficient for thyristor action to start.

In this example, body ties and implanting the base of the trench, are deliberatly omitted, making this CMOS inverter particularly vulnerable to thyristor action. So much so that and SEU with an LET of unity, is sufficient to trigger the CMOS inverter into a permanant conducting state, that can be reset, as with any thyristor, by temporary removal of the supply voltage.

This example can be used as a starting point to investigate how the placement of body ties and trench implantation techniques, will greatly increase the LET value of an SEU strike that is required to make the circuit latch up. The higher the LET value required to make the circuit latch up, translates directly, with an inverse relationship, into how often this will happen for any given level of background cosmic or local radiation.

To load and run this example, select the Load button in DeckBuild > Examples. This will copy the input file and any support files to your current working directory. Select the Run button in DeckBuild to execute the example.