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QUESTION BANK

DEPARTMENT: ECE SEMESTER VI


SUBJECT NAME: VLSI DESIGN SUBJECT CODE: EC2354

UNIT I CMOS TECHNOLOGY

PART A ( 2 MARKS)
1. What are four generations of Integration Circuits?
SSI (Small Scale Integration)
MSI (Medium Scale Integration)
LSI (Large Scale Integration)
VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration)
2. Give the advantages of IC?
Size is less
High Speed
Less Power Dissipation
3. Give the variety of Integrated Circuits?
More Specialized Circuits
Application Specific Integrated Circuits(ASICs)
Systems-On-Chips
4. Give the basic process for IC fabrication [AUC May 2007 ,Nov 2009 ]
Silicon wafer Preparation
Epitaxial Growth
Oxidation
Photolithography
Diffusion
Ion Implantation
Isolation technique
Metallization
Assembly processing & Packaging

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5. What are the various Silicon wafer Preparation?
Crystal growth & doping
Ingot trimming & grinding
Ingot slicing
Wafer polishing & etching
Wafer cleaning.
6. Different types of oxidation?
Dry & Wet Oxidation
What is the transistors CMOS technology provides?
n-type transistors & p-type transistors.
7. What are the different layers in MOS transistors?
Drain , Source & Gate
8. What is Enhancement mode transistor?
The device that is normally cut-off with zero gate bias.
9. What is Depletion mode Device?
The Device that conduct with zero gate bias.
10. When the channel is said to be pinched off?
If a large Vds is applied this voltage with deplete the Inversion layer .This Voltage
effectively pinches off the channel near the drain.
11. Give the different types of CMOS process?[AUC May 2008]
p-well process
n-well process
Silicon-On-Insulator Process
Twin- tub Process
12. What are the steps involved in twin-tub process?
Tub Formation
Thin-oxide Construction
Source & Drain Implantation
Contact cut definition
Metallization.
13. What are the advantages of Silicon-on-Insulator process?[AUC NOV 2009]
No Latch-up
Due to absence of bulks transistor structures are denser than bulk silicon.

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14. What is BiCMOS Technology?
It is the combination of Bipolar technology & CMOS technology.
15. What are the basic processing steps involved in BiCMOS process?
Additional masks defining P base region
N Collector area
Buried Sub collector (SCCD)
Processing steps in CMOS process
16. What are the advantages of CMOS process?[AUC MAY 2010]
Low power Dissipation
High Packing density
Bi directional capability
What are the advantages of CMOS process?
Low Input Impedance
Low delay Sensitivity to load.
17. Draw the energy band diagram of the components that make up the MOS
system[AUC MAY 2011]

18. Determine whether an nMOS transistor with a threshold voltage of 0.7V is


operating in the saturation region if Vgs = 2V and Vds = 3V.[AUC Dec 2011]
Since Vds>=( Vgs-Vtn) >=0 , the NMOS transistor operates in the saturation region.

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19. Draw the IV characteristics of MOS transistor. [AUC May 2012]

20. Brief the different operating regions of MOS systems. [AUC May 2012]
Non saturated region
Saturated region

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Part B [16 Marks]
1. Explain briefly about DC Characteristics of CMOS inverter [AUC MAY
2008,2012,2013]
The general arrangement and characteristics are illustrated . The current/voltage
relationships for the MOS transistor may be written as,

In the resistive region, or

In the saturation region. In both cases the factor K is a technology- dependent parameter such
that

The factor W/L is contributed by the geometry and it is common practice to write

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Such that,

In saturation, and where may be applied to both nMOS and pMOS transistors as follows,

Where Wn and Ln, Wp and Lp are the n- and p- transistor dimensions respectively. The CMOS
inverter has five regions of operation is shown in Fig.

Considering the static condition first, in region 1 for which Vin = logic 0, the p-transistor fully
turned on while the n-transistor is fully turned off. Thus no current flows through the inverter and
the output is directly connected to VDD through the p-transistor. In region 5 Vin = logic 1, the n-
transistor is fully on while the p-transistor is fully off. Again, no current flows and a good logic 0
appears at the output. In region 2 the input voltage has increased to a level which just exceeds
the threshold voltage of the n-transistor. The n-transistor conducts and has a large voltage
between source and drain. The p-transistor also conducting but with only a small voltage across
it, it operates in the unsaturated resistive region.

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In region 4 is similar to region 2 but with the roles of the p- and n- transistors reversed. The
current magnitudes in region 2 and 4 are small and most of the energy consumed in switching
from one state to the other is due to the large current which flows in region 3. In region 3 is the
region in which the inverter exhibits gain and in which both transistors are in saturation. The
currents in each device must be the same since the transistors are in series. So we may write

Where

And

Vin in terms of the ratio and the other circuit voltages and currents

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Since both transistors are in saturation, they act as current sources so that the equivalent circuit
in this region is two current sources so that the equivalent circuit in this region is two current
sources in series between VDD and VSS with the output voltage coming from their common
point. The region is inherently unstable in consequence and the change over from one logic
level to the other is rapid.

Since only at this point will the two factors be equal. But for n= p the device geometries
must be such that

The mobilities are inherently unequal and thus it is necessary for the width to length ratio of the
p-device to be three times that of the n-device, namely

The mobility is affected by the transverse electric field in the channel and is thus independent
on Vgs. It has been shown empirically that the actual mobility is

is a constant approximately equal to 0.05 Vt includes anybody effect, and z is the mobility
with zero transverse field.
2. Explain briefly about different CMOS Technologies [AUC APR 2008, NOV
2009,NOV 2011,NOV 2013]
The four dominant CMOS technologies are:
P-well process
n-well process
twin-tub process
Silicon on chip process

The p-well process A common approach to p-well CMOS fabrication is to start with moderately
doped n-type substrate (wafer), create the p-type well for the n-channel devices, and build the
p-channel transistor in the native n-substrate. The processing steps are,

1. The first mask defines the p-well (p-tub) n-channel transistors (Fig. 1.5a) will be fabricated in
this well. Field oxide (FOX) is etched away to allow a deep diffusion.

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2. The next mask is called the thin oxide or thinox mask (Fig. 1.5b), as it defines where areas
of thin oxide are needed to implement transistor gates and allow implantation to form p- or n-
type diffusions for transistor source/drain regions. The field oxide areas are etched to the silicon
surface and then the thin oxide areas is grown on these areas. O ther terms for this mask
include active area, island, and mesa.

3. Polysilicon gate definition is then completed. This involves covering the surface with
polysilicon (Fig 1.5c) and then etching the required pattern (in this case an inverted U). Poly
gate regions lead to self-aligned source-drain regions.

4. A p-plus (p+) mask is then used to indicate those thin-oxide areas (and polysilicon) that are to
be implanted p+. Hence a thin-oxide area exposed by the p-plus mask (Fig. 1.5d) will become a
p+ diffusion area. If the p-plus area is in the n-substrate, then a p-channel transistor or p-type
wire may be constructed. If the p-plus area is in the p-well, then an ohmic contact to the p-well
may be constructed.

5. The next step usually uses the complement of the p-plus mask, although an extra mask is
normally not needed. The absence of a p-plus region over a thin-oxide area indicates that the
area will be an n+ diffusion or n-thinox. n-thinox in the p-well defines possible n-transistors and
wires. An n+ diffusion in the n-substrate allows an ohmic contact to be made. Following this
step, the surface of the chip is covered with a layer of Sio2.

6. Contacts cuts are then defined. This involves etching any Sio2 down to the contacted
surface, these allow metal to contact diffusion regions or polysilicon regions.

7. Metallization is then applied to the surface and selectively etched.

8. As a final step, the wafer is passivated and openings to the bond pads are etched to allow for
wire bonding. Passivation protects the silicon surface against the ingress of contaminants.

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Basically the structure consists of an n-type substrate in which p-devices may be formed
by suitable masking and diffusion and, in order to accommodate n-type devices, a deep
p-well is diffused into the n-type substrate.
This diffusion must be carried out with special care since the p-well doping concentration
and depth will affect the threshold voltages as well as the breakdown voltages of the n-
transistors.
To achieve low threshold voltage (0.6 to 1.0 V), deep well diffusion or high well resistivity
is needed. However, deep wells require larger spacing between the n- and p-type
transistors and wires because of lateral diffusion resulting in larger chip areas. High
resistivity can accentuate latch-up problems.
In order to achieve narrow threshold voltage tolerances in a typical p-well process, the
well concentration is made about one order of magnitude higher than the substrate
doping density, thereby causing the body effect for n-channel devices to be higher than
for p-channel transistors.
In addition, due to this higher concentration, n-transistors suffer from excessive
source/drain to p-well capacitance will tends to be slower in performance. The well must
be grounded in such a way as to minimize any voltage drop due to injected current in
substrate that is collected by the p-well.
The p-well act as substrate for then-devices within the parent n-substrate, and, provided
polarity restrictions are observed, the two areas are electrically isolated such that there
are in affect two substrate, two substrate connections (VDD and VSS) are required.

The n-well process:


The p-well processes have been one of the most commonly available forms of CMOS.
However, an advantage of the n-well process is that it can be fabricated on the same
process line as conventional n MOS. n well CMOS circuits are also superior to p-well
because of the lower substrate bias effects on transistor threshold voltage and inherently
lower parasitic capacitances associated with source and drain regions.
Typically n-well fabrication steps are similar to a p-well process, except that an n-well is
used which is illustrated in Fig.
The first masking step defines the n-well regions. This followed by a low phosphorus
implant driven in by a high temperature diffusion step to form the n-wells.
The well depth is optimized to ensure against p-substrate to p+ diffusion breakdown
without compromising the n-well to n+ mask separation.
The next steps are to define the devices and diffusion paths, grow field oxide, deposit
and pattern the polysilicon, carry out the diffusions, make contact cuts and metallization.
An n-well mask is used to define n-well regions, as opposed to a p-well mask in a p-well
process. An n-plus (n+) mask may be used to define the n-channel transistors and VDD
contacts. Alternatively, we could use a p-plus mask to define the p-channel transistors,
as the masks usually are the complement of each other.
Due to differences in mobility of charge carriers the n-well process creates non-optimum
p-channel characteristics, such as high junction capacitance and high body effect. The
n-well technology has a distinct advantage of providing optimum device characteristics.
Thus n-channel devices may be used to form logic elements to provide speed and
density, while p-transistors could primarily serve as pull-up devices.

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The twin-tub process: Twin-tub CMOS technology provides the basis for separate optimization
of the p-type and n-type transistors, thus making it possible for threshold voltage, body effect,
and the gain associated with n-and p-devices to be independently optimized. Generally the
starting material is either an n+ or p+ substrate with a lightly doped epitaxial or epi layer, which
is used for protection against latch-up. The aim of epitaxy is to grow high purity silicon layers of
controlled thickness with accurately determined dopant concentrations distributed
homogeneously throughout the layer. The electrical properties for this layer are determined by
the dopant and its concentration in the silicon. The process sequence, which is similar to the p-
well process apart from the tub formation where both p-well and n-well are utilized as in Fig. 1.7,
entails the following steps:
Tub formation
Thin oxide etching
Source and drain implantations
Contact cut definition
Metallization.

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Since this process provides separately optimized wells, better performance n-transistors (lower
capacitance, less body effect) may be constructed when compared with a conventional p-well
process. Similarly the p-transistors may be optimized. The use of threshold adjust steps is
included in this process. Silicon on insulator process: Silicon on insulator (SOI) CMOS
processes has several potential advantages such as higher density, no latch-up problems, and
lower parasitic capacitances. In the SOI process a thin layer of single crystal silicon film is
epitaxial grown on an insulator such as sapphire or magnesium aluminate spinel. The steps
involves are:
1) A thin film (7-8 m) of very lightly doped n-type Si is grown over an insulator (Fig. 1.8a).
Sapphire is a commonly used insulator.

2) An anisotropic etch is used to etch away the Si (Fig. 1.8b) except where a diffusion area will
be needed.

3) The p-islands are formed next by masking the n-islands with a photoresist. A p-type dopant
(boron) is then implanted. It is masked by the photoresist and at the unmasked islands. The p-
islands (Fig. 1.8c) will become the n-channel devices.

4) The p-islands are then covered with a photoresist and an n-type dopant, phosphorus, is
implanted to form the n-islands (Fig. 1.8d). The n-islands will become the p-channel devices.

5) A thin gate oxide (500-600) is grown over all of the Si structures (Fig. 1.8e). This is normally
done by thermal oxidation.

6) A polysilicon film is deposited over the oxide.

7) The polysilicon is then patterned by photomasking and is etched. This defines the polysilicon
layer in the structure as in Fig. 1.8f.

8) The next step is to form the n-doped source and drain of the n-channel devices in the p-
islands. The n-island is covered with a photoresist and an n-type dopant (phosphorus) is
implanted (Fig. 1.8g).

9) The p-channel devices are formed next by masking the p-islands and implanting a p-type
dopant. The polysilicon over the gate of the n-islands will block the dopant from the gate, thus
forming the p-channel devices is shown in Fig. 1.8h.

10) A layer of phosphorus glass is deposited over the entire structure. The glass is etched at
contact cut locations. The metallization layer is formed. A final passivation layer of a phosphorus
glass is deposited and etched over bonding pad locations.

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The advantages of SOI technology are:
Due to the absence of wells, denser structures than bulk silicon can be obtained.

Low capacitances provide the basis of very fast circuits.


No field-inversion problems exist.
No latch-up due to isolation of n- and p- transistors by insulating substrate.
As there is no conducting substrate, there are no body effect problems
Enhanced radiation tolerance.

But the drawback is due to absence of substrate diodes, the inputs are difficult to protect. As
device gains are lower, I/O structures have to be larger. Single crystal sapphires are more
expensive than silicon and processing techniques tend to be less developed than bulk silicon
techniques.

3. Explain briefly about Current-Voltage Characteristics of MOS Subsystem [AUC


NOV 2010 ,2012 ,2013]
The MOSFET I-V characteristics can be extracted by modelling the characteristics of the
charge as a function of the gate-source voltage Vgsn. Consider first the case of cutoff
which occurs when

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Since Vgsnis not sufficient to induce an electron inversion layer, only immobile bulk charge QB
exists under the gate. The drain and source are separated by
two pn junctions, one of which has zero-bias applied (the source) while the other has a reverse-
bias across it. This blocks the flow of current, giving Idn =0.
Active operation requires that Vgs >=Vt be applied to the gate. This creates an electron
inversion
layer beneath the oxide, which in turn forms the FET conduction channel from drain to source.
Since we have already characterized the electron charge in a simple MOS structure, we may
modifyour analysis to include the FET parameters, and compute Idn as a function of Vgsn and
Vdsn .Modellingcan be performed at various levels with the general tradeoff being complexity
versus accuracy.
First, Vgs >=Vt is required to create the channel region underneath the oxide. Second, adrain-
to-source Vds nvoltage must be applied to produce the channel electric field E. This fieldforces
electrons to move from the source to the drain, thereby giving drift current Idn in the opposite
direction, i.e., the current flows into the drain and out of the source.

The electron inversion charge Qn (in units of in the channel is given by a capacitor relationof the
form

where V(y) represents the voltage in the channel due to The origin of the channel voltage V(y)
is easily understood by noting that the drain-source voltage creates an electric field in
thechannel region, giving the electric potential function V(y) such that

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To obtain the I-V equations for the MOSFET, we note that the channel region acts as a
nonlinear resistor between the source and drain. The channel geometry is detailed in
Figure Consider the differential segment dy of the channel. Since this element has a
simple rectangular shape with the current flow length of dy , the resistance is

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4. Discuss briefly about Technology-Related CAD Issues [AUC NOV 2010]

The mask database is the interface between the semiconductor manufacturer and the chip
designer. Two basic checks have to be completed to ensure that this description can be turned
into a working chip.
First, the specified geometric design rules must be obeyed.
Second, the interrelationship of the masks must, upon passing through the manufacturing
process, produce the correct interconnected set of circuit elements. To check these two
requirements, two basic CAD tools are required:

DESIGN RULE CHECK (DRC) PROGRAM


MASK CIRCUIT EXTRACTION PROGRAM.
.
Design Rule Checking (DRC)

AND layer1 layer2 -> layer3


ANDs layer1 and layer2 together to produce layer3
(i.e., the intersection of the two input mask descriptions)
OR layer1 layer2 -> layer3
ORs layer1 and layer2 together to produce layer3
(i.e., the union of the two input mask descriptions)
NOT layer1 layer2 -> layer3
Subtracts layer2 from layer1 to produce layer3
(i.e., the difference of the two input mask descriptions)
WIDTH layer > dimension -> layer3
Checks that all geometry on layer is larger than dimension
Any geometry that is not is placed in layer3
SPACE layer > dimension -> layer3
Checks that all geometry on layer is spaced further than dimension
Any geometry that is not is placed in layer3

The following layers will be assumed as input:


nwell
active
p-select
n-select
poly
poly-contact
active-contact
metal

Typically, useful sublayers are generated initially. First, the four kinds of active areaare isolated.
The rule set to accomplish this is as follows:
NOT all nwell -> substrate
AND nwell active -> nwell-active
NOT active nwell -> pwell-active
AND nwell-active p-select -> pdiff
AND nwell-active n-select -> vddn
AND pwell-active n-select -> ndiff
AND pwell-active p-select -> gndp

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In the above specification, a number of new layers have been designated. For instance,the first
rule states that wherever nwell is absent, a layer called substrate exists.
The second
rule states that all active areas within the nwell are nwell-active. A combination of nwellactive
and p-select or n-select yields pdiff (p diffusion) or vddn (well tap).

To find the transistors, the following rule set is used:


AND poly ndiff -> ngates
AND poly pdiff -> pgates
The first rule states that the combination of poly and ndiff yields the ngates region
all of the n-transistor gates.

Typical design rule checks (DRC) might include the following:


WIDTH metal < 0.13 -> metal-width-error
SPACE metal < 0.13 -> metal-space-error
For instance, the first rule determines if any metal is narrower than 0.13m andplaces the errors
in the metal-width-error layer. This layer might be interactively displayedto highlight the errors.

Circuit Extraction
Now imagine that we want to determine the electrical connectivity of a mask database.
The following commands are required:
CONNECT layer1 layer2
Electrically connect layer1 and layer2.
MOS name drain-layer gate-layer source-layer substrate-layer
Define an MOS transistor in terms of the component terminal layers.
The connections between layers can be specified as follows:
CONNECT active-contact pdiff
CONNECT active-contact ndiff
CONNECT active-contact vddn
CONNECT active-contact gndp
CONNECT active-contact metal
CONNECT gndp substrate
CONNECT vddn nwell
CONNECT poly-contact poly
CONNECT poly-contact metal
The connections between the diffusions and metal are specified by the first sevenstatements.
The last two statements specify how metal is connected to poly.
Finally, the active devices are specified in terms of the layers that we have derived:
MOS nmos ndiff ngates ndiff substrate
MOS pmos pdiff pgates pdiff nwell
An output statement might then be used to output the extracted transistors in somenetlist format
(i.e., SPICE format). The extracted netlist is often used to compare the layoutagainst the
intended schematic.

.
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5. Discuss briefly about Manufacturing Issues
As processes have evolved, various rules and guidelines have emerged that reflect the
complexity of the processing. These rules are often called Design for Manufacturability
(DFM).

Antenna Rules
When a metal wire contacted to a transistor gate is plasma-etched, it can charge up to
a voltage sufficient to zap the thin gate oxides. This is called plasma-induced gate-oxide
damage,or simply the antenna effect. It can increase the gate leakage, change the
thresholdvoltage, and reduce the life expectancy of a transistor. Longer wires
accumulate morecharge and are more likely to damage the gates.
During the high-temperature plasma etch process, the diodes formed by source and
drain diffusions can conduct significant amounts of current. These diodes bleed off
charge from wires before gate oxide is damaged.
Antenna rules specify the maximum area of metal that can be connected to a gate
without a source or drain to act as a discharge element. Larger gates can withstand
more charge buildup. The design rules normally define the maximum ratio of metal area
to gate area such that charge on the metal will not damage the gate. The ratios can vary
from100:1 to 5000:1 depending on the thickness of the gate oxide (and hence
breakdown voltage)of the transistor in question. Higher ratios apply to thicker gate oxide
transistors(i.e., 3.3 V I/O transistors).
Figure shows an antenna rule violation and two ways to fix it.

In Figure a long metal1 line is connected to a transistor gate. It has no connection to


diffusion untilmetal2 is formed, so the gate may be damaged during the metal1 plasma
etch.

In Figure3.36(b), the metal1 line is interrupted with a jumper to metal2. This reduces the
amount of charge that could zap the gate during the metal1 etch and solves the problem.

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In Figure3.36(c), an antenna diode is added, providing a discharge path during the etch. The
diodeis reverse-biased during normal operation and thus does not disturb circuit function(except
for the area and capacitance that it contributes).
For circuits requiring good matching, such as analog and memory cells, transistorgates should
connect directly to diffusion with a short segment of metal1 to avoid gatedamage that could
introduce mismatches.

Layer Density Rules


Another set of rules that pertain to advanced processes are layer density rules, which specifya
minimum and maximum density of a particular layer within a specified area. Etchrates have
some sensitivity to the amount of material that must be removed. For example,if polysilicon
density were too high or too low, transistor gates might end up over- orunder-etched, resulting in
channel-length variations. Similarly, the CMP process maycause dishing (excessive removal) of
copper when the density is not uniform.
To prevent these issues, a metal layer might be required to have 30% minimum and70%
maximum density within a 100 m by 100 m area.
For digital circuits, these densitylevels are normally reached with routine routing unless empty
spaces exist.
Analog and RFcircuits, on the other hand, are almost by definition sparse. Thus, diffusion,
polysilicon,and metal layers may have to be added manually or by a fill program after design
has beencompleted.
The fill can be grounded or left floating.
Grounded fill requires routingthe ground net to the fill structures.

Resolution Enhancement Rules


Some resolution enhancement techniques impose further design rules. For example, polysilicon
typically uses the narrowest lines and thus needs the most enhancement. This can besimplest if
polysilicon gates are only drawn in a single orientation (horizontal or vertical).

Using a single orientation also reduces systematic process variability. Avoid small jogs
andnotches (those less than the minimum layer width), because such notches can interfere
withproper OPC analysis.

Metal Slotting Rules


Some processes have special rules requiring that wide (e.g. >1040 m) metal wires haveslots.
Slots are long slits, on the order of 3 m wide, in the wire running parallel to thedirection of
current flow, as shown in Figure. They provide stress relief, help keep thewire in place, and
reduce the risk of electromigration failure.

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6. Explain briefly about rules set involved in CMOS fabrication. [AUC NOV 2011 ,APR
2012]

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7. Explain in detail , about channel length modulation [ AUC APR 2010 ,NOV 2012]

For a transistor in saturation , ideally Ids is independent of Vds ,this makes transistor a
perfect current source.
The reverse biased P-N junction between drain and body forms a depletion region with a
width Ld that increases with reverse biased voltage. The depletion region effectively
shortens the channel length to

The shorter channel length results in higher current Ids increases with Vds in saturation
region as shown

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- channel length modulation factor

is inversely proportional to channel length.


Channel length modulation greatly affects gain of amplifier.
8. Explain briefly about CMOS process enhancements.

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