Quality and Reliability Engineering International, Vol. 8, pp. 167-175, 1992.

The Influence of Temperature on Integrated Circuit Failure Mechanisms

M. Pecht, P. Lall, and E. Hakim


Temperature is generally considered to be  key parameter in the design of electronic equipment, and cautions concerning temperature and its relationship to reliability are widely documented. While some studies suggest that temperature is the most critical stress influence on microelectronic device failures, the actual failure mechanisms have generally not been quantified in terms of whether a steady state temperature, temperature change, rate of temperature change or spatial temperature gradient induced failure. In this paper, the influence of temperature on major integrated circuit failure mechanisms is discussed, with emphasis placed on those failure mechanisms which occur in the temperature rang of -55 degrees Celsius and 125 degrees Celsius. This paper shows that no simple expression can adequately describe temperature as a failure accelerator for all integrated circuit failure mechanisms. in fact, a generic statement that can be attributed to temperature is lacking. This suggests that a much deeper level of insight into temperature dependencies is necessary to achieve reliable equipment and avoid unnecessary thermal design complexities. Thermal management in electronic equipment can involve additional costs and system complexities that can be of consequential importance, and temperature control should not be routinely employed without close study and justification.

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