A thermal activation view of low voltage impact ionization in MOSFETs

Pin Su*, Ken Ichi Goto, Toshihiro Sugii, Chen-Ming Hu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


This letter presents a thermal activation perspective for direct assessment of the low voltage impact ionization in deep-submicrometer MOSFETs. A comparison of the experimentally determined activation energy and a simple theoretical model is used to demonstrate the underlying mechanism responsible for impact ionization at low drain bias. Our study indicates that the main driving force of impact ionization changes from the electric field to the lattice temperature with power-supply scaling below 1.2 V. This transition of driving force results in a linear relationship between log(ISUB/ID) and VD at sub-bandgap drain bias, as predicted by the proposed thermally-assisted impact ionization model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-552
Number of pages3
JournalIEEE Electron Device Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2002


  • Hot carrier
  • Impact ionization
  • Power-supply scaling
  • Thermal activation energy

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