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megd@illinois.edu

Farbiz wins Best Student Paper Award at IRPS

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By Laurel Bollinger, ECE ILLINOIS
June 9, 2009

  • Grad student Farzan fabriz won the Best Student Paper Award at the IRPS.
  • The paper sets up guidelines for improving designer reliability and time to market.
  • "In the semiconductor business, it is important to deliver your product as soon as possible to the market,” said Fabriz.

Farzan Farbiz
Farzan Farbiz

ECE graduate student Farzan Farbiz won the Best Student Paper Award for his presentation at the 2008 IEEE International Reliability Physics Symposium (IRPS) in Phoenix Arizona. The paper, titled “Modeling of Majority and Minority Carrier Triggered External Latchup,” sets up design guidelines for designers to improve reliability, as well as time to market. Farbiz said that ultimately, his paper seeks to solve a frustrating problem called latchup, a particular type of short circuit that can occur in circuits and that can result in permanent damage.

“After a chip is fabricated, it is time for the reliability testing. If the chip fails one of the tests, such as the latchup tests, the design must be revisited and the problem must be fixed,” said Farbiz. “Then, the chip must be fabricated and get tested all over again. This process might be repeated if necessary.”

Farbiz said that “in the semiconductor business, it is important to deliver your product as soon as possible to the market.”

Fabriz constructed a model that could estimate the immunity of a product to the latchup hazard at the design stage prior to manufacturing. “The designers will have an idea whether the final product passes the reliability tests or not and can modify to the design to meet the requirements,” he said. “There won’t be a need to redesign the chip after the tests.”

Farbiz feels particularly honored to win this award because IRPS is one of the top conferences in the field of reliability. Leading companies like Intel, IBM, and Texas Instruments were in attendance as well as university researchers from electrical engineering to physics to chemistry. “Well, it is exciting to know that people pay attention to your work, and it was a surprise as well,” he said. He said that the attention to his research feels good.

Research in reliability encompasses Farbiz’s research interests in both design and testing. “For my PhD, I wanted to do some design, some modeling, and some hands on experience,” he said. “This is one of those jobs where you get a chance to think about the underlying physics. It has a little bit of everything!”

Farbiz said reliability is a major issue in most of devices in use today including iPhones, cell phones, and iPods. Farbiz hopes his paper will lead to real-world practical use of his research.

“The best thing that could happen as a result of this paper is to see that the idea is being used by others,” Farbiz said. “It is good that the idea has received attention. But, I think that the ultimate goal would be to see people using it in practice.”

Editor's note: media inquiries should be directed to Brad Petersen, Director of Communications, at bradp@illinois.edu or (217) 244-6376.

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