On the Workload Dependence of Self-Heating in FinFET Circuits

Victor M. Van Santen, Hussam Amrouch, Pooja Kumari, Jorg Henkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Self-heating effect (SHE) is a major reliability concern in current and upcoming technology nodes due to its ability to increase the channel's temperature of transistor and leading to degradations in the key electrical characteristics such as carrier mobility. In this brief, we study SHE in a full processor at the 7nm FinFET technology node. This is the first work to analyze the impact that executed workloads on top of processors have on stimulating SHE. As matter of fact, SHE in transistors is driven by the workload-induced switching activities. When it comes to evaluating SHE, state of the art typically assumes that the switching frequency f_{sw} and operating clock frequency f_{clk} of a circuit are the same, concluding that SHE is not a concern in digital circuits that operate in the GHz-range like processors. After analysis a wide range of workloads, our investigation revealed that the majority of transistors in the processor's netlist exhibit a switching frequency in the kHz-range even though the processor's clock is in the GHz-range. This is because that the majority of transistors are within the data paths and hence their switching is driven by the workload data and not by the clock itself. In addition, we also demonstrate for the first time the important role that the duty cycle (on-/off-ratio) induced by the running workload has on modeling SHE. All in all, the relatively low switching activities together with skewed duty cycles induce a wide variety in channel temperatures. Thus, highlighting the importance of considering the workload when studying SHE.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8932430
Pages (from-to)1949-1953
Number of pages5
JournalIEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems II: Express Briefs
Volume67
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • FinFET
  • reliability
  • Self-heating
  • temperature
  • workload

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