Reliability and MMIC Technology Development and Production

Thomas R. Block, Jeff Elliott, Yeong-Chang Chou, Mike Biedenbender, Denise Leung, David Eng,
Aaron Oki, Mike Wojtowicz, and Rich Lai
Northrop Grumman Space Technology, One Space Park, Redondo Beach, CA 90278 (, 310-814-1715)
Keywords: GaAs HEMT, Reliability, Life Test, Gate Sinking, Hot Electron Degradation

A key aspect of MMIC technology development and production is reliability. At Northrop Grumman Space Technology (NGST), reliability assessment and
improvement are incorporated into the formative stages of technology development and continue through process qualification and manufacturing. Key components of this approach include: multi-temperature accelerated life testing; other accelerated life testing; determination of failure mechanisms using both device parametric changes and destructive physical analysis; investigation of anomalous behavior or unexpected failures; and the use of long-term, low-temperature testing. The importance of each of these components will be illustrated using the results from GaAs HEMT MMIC technology. Multi-temperature testing projects GaAs HEMT MMIC life times in excess of 109 hours at a junction temperature of 125°C or less. Investigation of the reliability test failures demonstrates the primary failure mechanism for thermally accelerated failures is gate-sinking. In addition, hot-carrier induced degradation can limit MMIC life times and must be tested for differently than thermally-accelerated mechanisms. Investigation of anomalous behavior led to the identification a previously unidentified failure mechanism related to movement/loss of the ohmic metal. Long-term, low-temperature testing displays excellent stability and provides confidence in the inherent reliability of technology.
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