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Introduction to Reliability Historical Perspective Current Devices Trends

The Bathtub Curve (1)

Failure rate, Infant Mortality

Useful life

Wear out



The Bathtub Curve (2)

What is the "bathtub" curve? In the 1950s, a group known as AGREE (Advisory Group for the Reliability of Electronic Equipment) discovered that the failure rate of electronic equipment had a pattern similar to the death rate of people in a closed system. Specifically, they noted that the failure rate of electronic components and systems follow the classical bathtub curve. This curve has three distinctive phases: 1. An infant mortality early life phase characterized by a decreasing failure rate (Phase 1). Failure occurrence during this period is not random in time but rather the result of substandard components with gross defects and the lack of adequate controls in the manufacturing process. Parts fail at a high but decreasing rate. 2. A useful life period where electronics have a relatively constant failure rate caused by randomly occurring defects and stresses (Phase 2). This corresponds to a normal wear and tear period where failures are caused by unexpected and sudden over stress conditions. Most reliability analyses pertaining to electronic systems are concerned with lowering the failure frequency (i.e., const shown in the Figure) during this period. 3. A wear out period where the failure rate increases due to critical parts wearing out (Phase 3). As they wear out, it takes less stress to cause failure and the overall system failure rate increases, accordingly failures do not occur randomly in time.

Introduction to Reliability
Failure in time (FIT)
Failures per 109 hours ( ~ 104 hours/year )

Acceleration Factors
Temperature Voltage

Introduction to Reliability (cont'd)

Most failure mechanisms can be modeled using the Arrhenius equation.
ttf = C e ttf C EA k T EA/kT

time to failure (hours) constant (hours) activation energy (eV) Boltzman's constant (8.616 x 10-5eV/K) temperature (K)

Introduction to Reliability (cont'd) Acceleration Factors

A.F. = ttfL -----ttfH

A.F. ttfL ttfH

= acceleration factor = time to failure, system junction temp (hours) = time to failure, test junction temp (hours)

Introduction to Reliability (cont'd) Activation Energies

Failure Mechanism EA(eV) Oxide/dielectric defects 0.3 Chemical, galvanic, or electrolytic corrosion 0.3 Silicon defects 0.3 Electromigration 0.5 to 0.7 Unknown 0.7 Broken bonds 0.7 Lifted die 0.7 Surface related contamination induced shifts 1.0 Lifted bonds (Au-A1 interface) 1.0 Charge injection 1.3 Note: Different sources have different values these values just given for examples.

Acceleration Factor - Voltage Oxides and Dielectrics

Large acceleration factors from increase in electric field strength
A.F. = 10 / (MV / cm)
k T = 0.4 e

- Boltzman's constant (8.616 x 10-5eV/K) - temperature (K)

Acceleration Factor: Voltage

Median-time-to-fail of unprogrammed antifuse vs. 1/V for different failure criteria with positive stress voltage on top electrode and Ta = 25 C.

Device and Computer Reliability 1960's Hi-Rel Application

Apollo Guidance Computer
Failure rate of IC gates: < 0.001% / 1,000 hours ( < 10 FITS ) Field Mean-Time-To-Failure ~ 13,000 hours

One gate type used with large effort on screening, failure analysis, and implementation.

Device Reliability:1971
Reliability Level of Parts and Practices Commercial Military High Reliability Representative MTBF (hr) 500 2,000 10,000

(104 hours)

MIL-M-38510 Devices (1976)

Circuit Types Description FITS

5400 5482 5483 5474 54S174 54163 4049A 4013A 4020A 10502

Quad, 2-input NAND 2-bit, full adder 4-bit, full adder Dual, D, edge-triggered flip-flop Hex, D, edge-triggered flip-flop 4-bit synchronous counter Inverting hex buffer Dual, D, edge-triggered flip-flop 14-stage, ripple carry counter Triple NOR (ECL)

60 44 112 72 152 120 52 104 344 80 280

HYPROM512 512-bit PROM

Harris CICD Devices (1987)

Circuit Types

HS-6504 HS-6514 HS-3374RH HS-54C138RH HS-80C85RH

Package Types

4k X 1 RAM 1k x 4 RAM Level Converter Decoder 8-bit CPU

HS-8155/56 HS-82C08RH HS-82C12RH HS-8355RH

256 x 8 RAM Bus Transceiver I/O Port 2k x 8 ROM

Flat Packs (hermetic brazed and glass/ceramic seals) LCC DIP FITS @ 55C, Failure Rate @ 60% U.C.L. 43.0

UTMC and Quicklogic

< 10 FITS (planned) Quicklogic reports 12 FIT, 60% UCL

UTER Technology, 0 failures, 0.3 [double check]

Antifuse PROM
64K: 19 FIT, 60% UCL 256K: 76 FIT, 60% UCL

Xilinx FPGAs
Static: Dynamic: 9 FIT, 60% UCL 29 FIT, 60% UCL

Static: 34 FIT, 60% UCL Dynamic: 443 FIT, 60% UCL

Actel FPGAs
Technology 2.0/1.2 1.0 0.8 0.6 0.45 0.35 RTSX 0.6 0.25 0.22 FITS 33 9.0 10.9 4.9 12.6 19.3 33.7 88.9 78.6 # Failures 2 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 Device-Hours 9.4 6.1 1.9 1.9 7.3 4.8 2.7 1.0 1.2 x x x x x x x x x 107 108 108 108 107 107 107 107 107

Technology 1608 (64K) 4k & 16K Serial FITS 1281 37 # Failures 1 152 # Devices 100 4257 Hours 103 103 Device-Hours 105 4.3 x 106

Note: Applied stress, HTOL, 125C, Dynamic, VCC=5.5V.


The one failure occurred in less then 48 hours. The manufacturer feels that this was an infant mortality failure.

12 failures detected at 168 hours, 3 failures at 500 hours, and no failures detected after that point.

Actel FIT Rate Trends

Skylab Lessons Learned

58. Lesson: New Electronic Components

Avoid the use of new electronic techniques and components in critical subsystems unless their use is absolutely mandatory.

New electronic components (resistors, diodes, transistors, switches, etc.) are developed each year. Most push the state-ofthe-art and contain new fabrication processes. Designers of systems are eager to use them since they each have advantages over more conventional components. However, being new, they are untried and generally have unknown characteristics and idiosynchracies. Let some other program discover the problems. Do not use components which have not been previously used in a similar application if it can be avoided, even at the expense of size and weight.

Reliability - Summary
Covered device reliability basics Design reliability is another set of topics
Advanced Design: Designing for Reliability Fundamental Logic Design: Clocking, Timing Analysis, and Design Verification Fundamental Logic Design: VHDL for HighReliability Applications - Coding and Synthesis Fundamental Logic Design: Verification of HDL-Based Logic Designs for High-Reliability Applications