Reliability and Life Cycle Prediction

Modern structures in microtechnology and nanotechnology are just 350 to 40 nm in size. In the future, they will be only 130 to 22 nm. The field of system integration is also constantly advancing, and components are now being packed into the tightest of arrangements. As a result, the reliable functioning of a part is increasingly influenced by technological effects such as process fluctuations, aging, wear or electro-thermal interactions with other components.

Many new safety-critical applications, such as in automobiles, aviation, medical technology or industrial automation, are based on these technologies. These applications require parts with particularly long lifetimes that must still be inexpensive to manufacture.

In order to reliably guarantee the functioning of such parts and to tap the full potential of these new technologies, the error and failure mechanisms must be taken into consideration at various levels of abstraction (technology, components, integrated circuits, systems) even before manufacturing. This also includes accounting for interactions between individual effects. For example, manufacturing variations and wear affect the same properties of components. Aging and heating are also processes that influence each other.

The effects of faults and aging can be investigated at an early stage via mathematical models and simulations based on them. Alongside verification of the desired electrical behavior, these techniques also make it possible to verify the function of the entire system under a variety of usage conditions. At the same time, specific constraints on the circuit design and layout can be derived in order to take the requirements for reliability and robustness into account during development of the system.