Silicon-Germanium Heterojunction Bipolar Transistors for High-Temperature and Radiation-Rich Environments
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Extreme environments pose unique challenges to all types of electronics. These extreme environments can cover a variety of different conditions, including, but not limited to, low temperatures, high temperatures, radiation, pressure etc. One technology that has shown promising robustness in extreme environments is SiGe HBTs. SiGe HBTs have shown superior performance at low temperatures and are multi-Mrad tolerant to total dose effects. However, a type of extreme environment not often looked at in the context of SiGe HBTs is high temperature and its intersection with radiation. Energy and automotive sectors both have a need for high-temperature electronics while planetary exploration missions to Venus or Jupiter or Saturn require both high-temperature and radiation-tolerant electronics. The objective of this work is to investigate the effects of high temperature (up to 300C) and radiation on SiGe HBTs, and to provide a framework for building robust, high-temperature capable circuits. In particular, this work aims to explore performance and reliability of SiGe HBTs at elevated temperatures and use this to demonstrate circuit-level operation. Additionally, the intersection of radiation with high temperature is explored to better understand actual space environments. To achieve this objective, DC and AC performance of SiGe HBTs at high temperatures are explored. A safe-operating-area (SOA) map across temperature is generated using a mixed-mode stress methodology to illustrate the reliability concerns. Using this SOA framework, reliable, high-temperature circuits are designed with a calibrated, wide-temperature compact model. Radiation studies were also performed, and their underlying physics is explored with TCAD models.