Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Lawrence P. Dunleavy, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Arthur David Snider, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas M. Weller, Ph.D.


microwave, modeling, nonlinear, large-signal, temperature, electrothermal, thermal, trapping, pulsed, static, correction, de-embedding


In the development of a nonlinear transistor model, several measurements are used to extract equivalent circuit parameters. The current-voltage (IV) characteristic of a transistor is one of the measurement data sets that allows the nonlinear model parameters to be extracted. The accuracy of the IV measurement greatly influences the accuracy of the large-signal model.

Numerous works have reported the inadequacy of traditional static DC IV measurements to accurately predict radio-frequency (RF) behavior for many devices. This inaccuracy results from slow processes in the device that do not have time to completely respond to the quick changes in terminal conditions when the device is operating at high frequencies; however, these slow processes respond fully to reach a new steady-state condition in the DC sweep measurement. The two dominant processes are self-heating of the device and changes in trap occupancy. One method of allowing the thermal and trap conditions to remain in a state comparable to that of RF operation is to perform pulsed IV measurements to obtain the IV curves. In addition, thermal correction can be used to adjust the IV curves to compensate for self-heating in the case that the predominant effect in the device is thermal.

To gain a better understanding of pulsed IV measurement techniques, measurement waveforms of a commercially available pulsed IV analyzer are examined in the time domain. In addition, the use of bias tees with pulsed IV measurement is explored; such a setup may be desired to maintain stability or to enable simultaneous pulsed S-parameter and pulsed IV measurement. In measurements with bias tees, the pulse length setting must be long enough to allow the voltage across the inductor to change before the measurement is made.

In many circumstances, it is beneficial to compare different sets of IV curves for a device. The comparison of pulsed and static IV measurements, measured and modeled IV measurements, as well as two measurements with identical settings on the same instrument (to ascertain instrument repeatability) can be performed using the proposed normalized difference unit (NDU). This unit provides a comparison that equally weights the two sets of data to be compared. Due to the normalization factor used, the value of the NDU is independent of the size of the device for which the IV curves are compared. The variety of comparisons for which this unit can be used and its ability to present differences quantitatively allow it to be used as a robust metric for comparing IV curves. Examples of the use of the NDU shown include determination of measurement repeatability, comparison of pulsed and static IV data, and a comparison of model fits.

The NDU can also be used to isolate thermal and trapping processes and to give the maximum pulse length that can be used for pulsed IV measurement without contamination by each of these processes. Plotting the NDU comparing static and pulsed IV data versus pulse length shows this maximum pulse length that can be used for each effect, while a plot of the NDU comparing pulsed IV data for two quiescent bias points of equal power dissipation reveals only differences due to trapping effects. In this way, trapping effects can be distinguished from thermal effects.

Electrothermal modeling has arisen as a method of correcting for self-heating processes in a device with predominantly thermal effects. A parallel RC circuit is used to model channel temperature as a function of ambient temperature and power dissipated in the channel or junction. A technique is proposed for thermal resistance measurement and compared with a technique found in the literature. It is demonstrated that the thermal time constant can be measured from a plot of the NDU versus pulse length, and the thermal capacitance is then obtained using the thermal resistance and time constant.

Finally, the results obtained through the thermal resistance measurement procedures are used to thermally correct static IV curves. Because trapping effects are negligible, it is shown that IV curves corresponding to different quiescent bias points for a Si LDMOSFET can be synthesized from three sets of static IV data taken at different ambient temperatures. The results obtained from this correction process for two quiescent bias points are compared to the pulsed IV results for these quiescent bias points and found to be quite accurate.

Use of the methods presented in this work for obtaining more accurate transistor IV data data should assist in allowing more accurate nonlinear models to be obtained.