Influence of concurrent electrothermal and avalanche effects on the safe operating area of multifinger bipolar transistors

Luigi La Spina*, Vincenzo d'Alessandro, Salvatore Russo, Niccolò Rinaldi, Lis K. Nanver

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)


    The impact of the concurrent action of electrothermal and avalanche effects on the reduction of the safe operating area is experimentally investigated for a wide number of single-, two-, and three-finger bipolar transistors fabricated in SiGe, GaAs, and silicon-on-glass technologies. The results of the analysis are substantiated by a SPICE-like simulation tool that allows the monitoring of the temperatures of the individual fingers and provides an in-depth understanding of the individual influence of the positive feedback mechanisms. Design strategies for minimizing the effects on device operation, like the implementation of ballasting resistors and emitter segmentation, are also analyzed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)483-491
    Number of pages9
    JournalIEEE transactions on electron devices
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009



    • Avalanche effect
    • Ballasting resistors
    • Bipolar junction transistor (BJT)
    • Breakdown voltage
    • Electrothermal effects
    • Emitter ballasting
    • Emitter segmentation
    • Heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT)
    • Impact ionization (II)
    • Multifinger transistor
    • Safe operating area (SOA)
    • Self-heating
    • Silicon-on-glass (SOG)
    • Thermal coupling
    • Thermal instability
    • Thermal resistance

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