Electrothermal limitations on the current density of high-frequency bipolar transistors

Nebojša Nenadović*, Lis K. Nanver, Jan W. Slotboom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, electrothermal consequences of down-scaling bipolar transistors, reducing the emitter resistance and implementing substrate modifications are examined by means of electrical measurements, numerical simulations and analytical calculations. A formulation is given for the optimum current density that can be run through the device and still maintain both sufficient transconductance and thermal stability. This expression sets a theoretical limit on the current density and therefore also on the speed of the given technology node. Particularly the lowering of the emitter resistivity is a trade-off between transconductance and thermal stability, and the optimum choice can be estimated from these results along with the maximum emitter area that will allow unconditional thermal stability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2175-2180
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Transactions on Electron Devices
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Bipolar transistors
  • Emitter resistance
  • High-frequency (HF) technologies
  • Silicon-on-glass
  • Thermal instability


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