Original Date: 01/23/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Microelectronics Reliability Benchmarking Facility
The Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) Microelectronics Reliability Benchmarking Facility independently tests commercial manufacturers' integrated circuits to benchmark reliability. The Reliability Physics Department has developed a standard set of tests for the most common failure mechanisms of integrated circuits. By testing samples from throughout industry, manufacturers can benchmark their products against their competitors' products.
Reliability requirements of integrated circuits had been verified by their customers. However, when consumers expectations were not met, customers would go elsewhere, commonly without the manufacturer's knowledge. Manufacturers would not know what other competitors' reliability was in comparison unless they did continuous reliability testing of the industry. To address this issue, Sandia generated standard software, Sandia Wafer-level sOftware for Reliable Devices (SWORD), to test electromigration, oxide breakdown, and hot carrier degradation. Manufacturers can now construct a standard set of circuits on each wafer called test structures. A self-stressing test structure, Self-stressing High-frequency Reliability Devices (SHIELD), enables Sandia to control the temperature and frequency while SWORD performs the reliability tests. Wafer probers are used to test three-inch to eight-inch wafers at temperatures from -55 to 400°C and frequencies up to 500MHz with SHIELD.
The key to the successful benchmarking process has been obtained through keeping the reliability testing results confidential. Only the manufacturer's results as compared to the rest of industry are released. Most U.S. semiconductor manufacturers and some foreign manufacturers have participated. Benchmarking reliability has been both beneficial to the U.S. Government and industry. Areas for internal improvement are clearly defined to industry, while the government gains the knowledge of industry's reliability capabilities.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.