Goldilocks Failures: Not Too Soft, Not Too Hard

It is well known that circuits fail when one or more of the constituent components fails, due - for example - to phenomena such as electromigration in wires. Such hard failures, typically due to topological changes in circuit connectivity, are treated distinctly from soft failures which could be due to components drifting out of spec over time. However, in certain types of circuits, such as memory, the distinction between soft and hard failures is not clearly defined. The primary cause of the blurring between these two phenomena is manufacturing variability, which can make a topologically correct circuit behave as if it had a short or an open. This paper will show the linkage between these two failure types, and show how increasing variability in future technologies will likely exacerbate this problem further.

By: Sani R. Nassif; Veit B. Kleeberger; Ulf Schlichtmann

Published in: RC25266 in 2012


This Research Report is available. This report has been submitted for publication outside of IBM and will probably be copyrighted if accepted for publication. It has been issued as a Research Report for early dissemination of its contents. In view of the transfer of copyright to the outside publisher, its distribution outside of IBM prior to publication should be limited to peer communications and specific requests. After outside publication, requests should be filled only by reprints or legally obtained copies of the article (e.g., payment of royalties). I have read and understand this notice and am a member of the scientific community outside or inside of IBM seeking a single copy only.


Questions about this service can be mailed to .