SiGe HBTs Operating at Deep Cryogenic temperatures
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As Si-manufacturing compatible SiGe HBTs are making rapid in-roads into RF through mm-wave circuit applications, with performance levels steadily marching upward, the use of these devices under extreme environment conditions are being studied extensively. In this work, test structures of SiGe HBTs were designed and put into extremely low temperatures, and a new negative differential resistance effect and a novel collector current kink effect are investigated in the cryogenically-operated SiGe HBTs. Theory based on an enhanced positive feedback mechanism associated with heterojunction barrier effect at deep cryogenic temperatures is proposed. The accumulated charge induced by the barrier effect acts at low temperatures to enhance the total collector current, indirectly producing both phenomena. This theory is confirmed using calibrated 2-D DESSIS simulations over temperature. These unique cryogenic effects also have significant impact on the ac performance of SiGe HBTs operating at high-injection. Technology evolution plays an important role in determining the magnitude of the observed phenomena, and the scaling implications are addressed. Circuit implication is discussed.