Program > Invited awarded papers

Based on an exchange agreement with the committees of the

  • International Symposium on the Physical & Failure Analysis of Integrated Circuits Conference (IPFA 2019),
  • International Reliability Physics Symposium (IRPS 2019) and
  • International Symposium for Testing and Failure Analysis (ISTFA 2018),

authors of awarded papers have been invited to present their work at ESREF 2019. These exchanges prove the fruitful collaboration between the Committees of these three conferences.


ISTFA 2018 Best Paper : Power Device Burned Completely – And Now, How to Find the Root Cause?

Peter Jacob, EMPAMaterial Science&Technology, Switzerland

If power modules suffer failures, frequently the destruction energy is so high that the component (and also neighbored circuitry) burns down completely. For failure analysis, just some pieces of carbonized leftovers and molten metal balls are available. Of course, no useful analysis on component level is possible in such cases. However, a combination of system- related failure anamnesis and dedicated measurements on new reference systems and surviving parts of the failed system, allows many useful conclusions towards the failure root cause. This paper highlights the most important approaches and questions to be evaluated in such cases.

After studying Technical Physics in Munich, Peter Jacob started his professional work in 1981 as a failure analysis expert in IBM semiconductor plant Boeblingen until 1992. After a short period at Hitachi Scientific Instruments, where he was responsible for electron microscopy configurations and customer trainings, he joined ETH Zurich/ Empa as a senior expert for failure analysis on micro- and power-electronics from device to system level. In parallel to this work at Empa, in 1995 he joined to Swatch Group – EM Microelectronic Marin as a principal F/A engineer. Jacob has authored more than 70 contributed and invited papers as well as two ESREF Best/ Outstanding Papers, an ISTFA Outstanding Paper and an Outstanding Poster. He volunteers in the German ESD Forum e.V. and EDFAS. In recognition of his annual lectures in scanning electron microscopy, he was appointed in 2007 to an Honorary Professor of Technical University Munich and in 2010 he received the International Barkhausen Award of Technical University Dresden. In the recent years, he focused on system failure analysis including failure anamnesis. In 2016, he was appointed to the Head of the Electronics & Reliability Center at Empa.


IPFA 2019 Best Paper : Understanding lifetime prediction methodology for In0.53Ga0.47As nFETs under Positive Bias Temperature Instability (PBTI) condition

Zhigang Ji, Xiong Zhang and Jianfu Zhang, Liverpool John Moores University, UK

In0.53Ga0.47As as a high mobility channel material is a strong candidate for nFETs, which, however, suffers severe PBTI reliability. In this work, we show the failure of conventional method for its lifetime prediction and demonstrate the required paradigm shift in characterizing such technology. Then a comprehensive investigation on PBTI is carried out. It is found that PBTI degradation contains two different types of traps: the pre-existing traps and the generated traps. Clear evidence is given to support their property. For the first time, a comprehensive As-Grown-Generation model is established that offers the accurate prediction at long term under different operating temperatures. This proposed model is based on the understanding of the traps and therefore allows the detailed understanding of their contribution at the end of the device lifetime, which can help assist the future process/device optimization.


Dr. Zhigang Ji joined Shanghai Jiaotong University as the Professor in Nanoelectronics in September 2019. Before taking the position, he was the Reader in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), UK. He received his Ph.D. in 2010 from LJMU, following his B.S. degree in 2003 and M. S. degree in 2006 from Tsinghua University and Peking University in Beijing, all majored in Electrical Engineering. He was a visiting Professor with IMEC, Belgium and has been the adjunct professor with Peking University and Shandong University in China.

His research interests include characterization and modelling on the reliability/variability related issues for nano-scaled CMOS and memory devices and their interactions with circuits.  He also explored the emerging devices and their applications with focus on the hardware security and the new computing paradigms beyond von-Neumann architecture. He has published over 80 journal and conference papers including 16 on top-tier IEDM, VLSI-T and IRPS.


IRPS 2019 Best Paper : Spatio-Temporal Defect Generation Process in Irradiated HfO2 MOS Stacks: Correlated versus Uncorrelated Mechanisms

Felix Palumbo, UIDI-CONICET, Argentina

In this paper, we analyze the dependence of the Weibull slope (β) extracted from TDDB tests on HfO2 MOS capacitors (MOSCAPs) on the initial density of defects artificially induced by carefully tuned micro beam irradiation experiments with different carbon dosages. The consistent experimental trend of reducing β with increasing defect density was reproducible only with physics-based breakdown simulations that considered correlated defect generation in HfO2 and localized damage (partial percolation paths) traces created by the impinging ions. Scenarios of spatially random initial defect distribution and random stress-induced defect generation (in space and time) could not explain the experimental trends, confirming that correlated defect generation does exist in HfO2 thereby altering the conventional understanding of TDDB by quite a bit.


Felix Palumbo received the MSc. (2000) and the Ph.D. (2005) both in Physics from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), Argentina. The main topic of research was the study of the degradation of the gate oxide layer in MOS (Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor) structures caused by the application of electrical stress and radiation. The title of Ph.D. thesis is “Reliability of ultra-thin gate oxides”, which was completed under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Adrian Faigón (UBA-Argentina) and Prof. Dr. Salvatore Lombardo (IMM-CNR-Italy). Since 2006, he is research staff of the National Council of Science and Technology (CONICET) and since 2011, Professor with the Department of Electronics Engineering, National Technological University (UTN) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 2012, He was awarded by the Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship to work on the reliability of Metal Gate/High-K structures on III-V substrate at the Israel Institute of Technology-Technion with Dr. Moshe Eizenberg. He is the author of about 80 peer-review publications. His primary research interests include electronic device reliability, breakdown effects of ultra-thin dielectrics, and the early assessment of emerging technologies for logic and memory applications. His interest in applied science prompted to start research collaborations with companies such as IBM-Fishkill-USA, Tower Jazz-Israel, SOITEC-France, and he is also a frequent scientific visitor of academic institutions as IMM-CNR-Italy, MINATEC-France, Autonomous University of Barcelona -Spain, Soochow University-China, and Technion-Israel.  Concerning projects management and research grants, he is currently in charge of and participates in several funded research project in the field of reliability of ultra-thin gates oxides and improvement of electronic devices using 2D materials. The supervision of students is also a relevant issue among his activities. At present, he is involved in the supervision of 5 Ph.D. thesis.

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