Juan Pablo Borja, Toh Ming Lu, Joel Plawsky

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Dielectric breakdown in a solid film is characterized as the irreversible loss of the material’s local dielectric insulation property. Failure originates when the dielectric is subjected to electrical stress beyond a critical point. In general, dielectric breakdown mechanisms in amorphous films can be categorized as either intrinsic or extrinsic in nature (He and Sun, High-k gate dielectrics for CMOS technology, 2012, p.166). Intrinsic failure corresponds to damage caused by the transport of electrons across the dielectric matrix, which eventually degrades the material and causes it to exceed its innate limit. Extrinsic failure corresponds to a breakdown accelerated by flaws stemming from the transport of foreign species across the dielectric film. Extrinsic failure occurs on a much faster timescale than intrinsic breakdown. Some of the most common causes of extrinsic failure are metal atoms, ions, and moisture. These foreign species are the result of manufacturing process steps and instabilities in metal/dielectric interfaces (He and Lu, Metal-Dielectric Interfaces in Gigascale Electronics Thermal and Electrical Stability, 2012, p.127).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpringerBriefs in Materials
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameSpringerBriefs in Materials
ISSN (Print)2192-1091
ISSN (Electronic)2192-1105

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, The Author(s).


  • Amorphous solids
  • Dielectric breakdown
  • Failure mechanisms
  • History
  • Ions
  • Reliability models


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