General Introduction

  • Francis Balestra
  • Gérard Ghibaudo


There are numerous reasons for operating electronic devices and circuits below room temperature:
  1. 1)
    improved performance such as:
    • — Higher speed due to improved transport properties, ideal subthreshold operation and reduced interconnect resistance

    • — Lower thermal electrical noise

    • — Reduction or suppression of parasitic effects leading to an improvement of device reliability, for instance latch-up and leakage currents for CMOS circuits or electromigration for the interconnects

    • — Increased thermal conductivity for silicon and many other materials allowing higher integration density;

  2. 2)

    refined characterization methods, for instance dealing with the determination of interface or bulk defects, the study of scattering mechanisms or the investigation of quantum effects;

  3. 3)

    physical and technological limitations for the ultimate integration of silicon circuits down to nanometric dimensions which could be overcome using low temperature electronics;

  4. 4)

    need to couple electronics to other devices which are in a cold environment, such as read-out circuits with cooled detectors;

  5. 5)

    study and use of physical phenomena that occur only or are magnified at low temperature such as single electron effects or superconductivity;

  6. 6)

    a conventional electronic circuit has to operate in a wide temperature range, from 125°C down to −55°C, and therefore needs also to be evaluated at low temperature. Note also that the lowest temperature observed on earth is about −90°C. Other very interesting temperature ranges are liquid nitrogen (77K = −196°C=−320°F) and liquid helium temperatures (4K=−269°C=−452°F).



Liquid Helium Temperature High Electron Mobility Transistor Parasitic Effect Heterojunction Bipolar Transistor High Integration Density 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francis Balestra
    • 1
  • Gérard Ghibaudo
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Physique des Composants à SemiconducteursUMR CNRS, ENSERG/INPGGrenobleFrance

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