TSMC and BTA Technology Partner to Deliver Foundry Industry's Reliability Simulation Tool SuiteNew Tools First to Simulate Hot Carrier Effects

HSIN-CHU, Taiwan and SAN JOSE, Calif., USA-- August 27, 1999- BTA Technology and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) today announced a joint partnership agreement to deliver the industry's first foundry-specific tool kit that addresses hot carrier effects, an important issue as designs migrated to 0.18-micron geometries and below. As part of the agreement, TSMC adopts BTA's hot carrier simulation and modeling tool suite.

"We believe that this partnership agreement is an excellent validation that BTA has the best hot-carrier circuit-level reliability simulation tools in the industry," noted Zhihong Liu, president and CEO of BTA Technology. "Moreover, this alliance helps both of us to protect our mutual customers from hot-carrier induced (HCI) degradation effects under real-world operating conditions. Our mutual customers are receiving the hot carrier model parameters directly from TSMC and the simulation and modeling tool suite from BTA to address these critical design issues and thereby achieve success with their deep submicron implementations."

Dr. Shang-Yi Chiang, Vice President of Research & Development at TSMC stated, "As we push our process and device technology further into very deep submicron geometry , hot carrier-induced degradation effects become increasingly important phenomenon that needs to be addressed early in the design cycle. BTA tools offer our customers an excellent opportunity to minimize hot carrier effects when using TSMC's advanced device technology to achieve highest performance designs. BTA tools will help us save time in hot carrier model parameter extraction and will prove invaluable to those customers who need these parameters. By making this modeling and simulation solution available to our customers, TSMC once again sets a new landmark in the foundry industry."

TSMC is utilizing BTA's RelPro hot-carrier stress and management tool; and BSIMPro SPICE model parameter extraction tool to extract hot carrier model parameters which are specific to TSMC's processes. TSMC will also verify those parameters using BTABERT, BTA's circuit-level reliability simulator that evaluates HCI degradation effects under real-world circuit operating conditions. Once TSMC makes the hot carrier model parameters available to customers, design engineers can easily check their designs for hot carrier effects using BTABERT.

About Hot-Carrier Reliability Issues

With the scaling down of device geometries, comes the scaling of device channel lengths. Shorter channel lengths mean a greater electric field in the channel which causes more electrons to become energetic or "hot". These hot-carriers subsequently collide with atoms in the channel and create more carriers (electron-hole pairs). Some of these electrons will subsequently be trapped within the gate oxide or its interface. This can cause an increase in threshold voltage and degrades current drive. Every device will exhibit a different amount of HCI degradation, which will depend upon its unique switching activity, which in turn is determined by the designer. The overall effect is an incompatibility between circuit performance seen at the beginning of the product design and what it ultimately becomes during a period of operation after manufacturing. Speed typically is the first thing that significantly decreases.

About BTA Technology

BTA Technology Inc. provides innovative design solutions to ensure deep submicron performance. The company's simulation tools ensure first silicon success for simulating the effect of hot-carrier and device mismatch on circuit performance. These effects become vital for achieving accuracy in today's designs, especially for designs with geometries of 0.18 micron and below. In addition to design tools, BTA offers a comprehensive line of modeling tools. These tools emphasize accuracy, easy of use, and tight