Failure of electronic components-
Vias are a common source of unwanted serial resistance on chips; defective vias show unacceptably high resistance and therefore increase propagation delays. As their resistivity drops with increasing temperature, degradation of the maximum operating frequency of the chip the other way is an indicator of such a fault. Mousebites are regions where metallization has a decreased width; such defects usually do not show during electrical testing but present a major reliability risk. Increased current density in the mousebite can aggravate electromigration problems; a large degree of voiding is needed to create a temperature-sensitive propagation delay.
Sometimes, circuit tolerances can make erratic behaviour difficult to trace; for example, a weak driver transistor, a higher series resistance and the capacitance of the gate of the subsequent transistor may be within tolerance but can significantly increase signal propagation delay. These can manifest only at specific environmental conditions, high clock speeds, low power supply voltages, and sometimes specific circuit signal states; significant variations can occur on a single die. Overstress-induced damage like ohmic shunts or a reduced transistor output current can increase such delays, leading to erratic behavior. As propagation delays depend heavily on supply voltage, tolerance-bound fluctuations of the latter can trigger such behavior.
Gallium arsenide monolithic microwave integrated circuits can have these failures:
Degradation of IDSS by gate sinking and hydrogen poisoning. This failure is the most common and easiest to detect, and is affected by reduction of the active channel of the transistor in gate sinking and depletion of the donor density in the active channel for hydrogen poisoning.
Degradation in gate leakage current. This occurs at accelerated life tests or high temperatures and is suspected to be caused by surface-state effects.
Degradation in pinch-off voltage. This is a common failure mode for gallium arsenide devices operating at high temperature, and primarily stems from semiconductor-metal interactions and degradation of gate metal structures, with hydrogen being another reason. It can be hindered by a suitable barrier metal between the contacts and gallium arsenide.
Increase in drain-to-source resistance. It is observed in high-temperature devices, and is caused by metal-semiconductor interactions, gate sinking and ohmic contact degradation.