To effectively protect the radio-frequency (RF) circuits in nanoscale CMOS technology from electrostatic discharge (ESD) damages, the silicon-controlled rectifier (SCR) devices have been used as main on-chip ESD protection devices due to their high ESD robustness and low parasitic capacitance. In this paper, an SCR device assisted with an inductor is proposed to improve the turn-on efficiency for ESD protection. Besides, the inductor can be also designed to resonate with the parasitic capacitance of the SCR device at the selected frequency band for RF performance fine tuning. Experimental results of the ESD protection design with inductor-triggered SCR in a nanoscale CMOS process have been successfully verified at 60-GHz frequency. The ESD protection design with inductor-triggered SCR has been implemented in cell configuration with compact size, which can be directly used in the RF receiver circuits. To verify the RF characteristics and ESD robustness in the RF receiver, the inductor-triggered SCR has been applied to a 60-GHz low-noise amplifier (LNA). Verified in a silicon chip, the 60-GHz LNA with the inductor-triggered SCR can achieve good RF performances and high ESD robustness.
Ref.: C.-Y. Lin, L.-W. Chu, and M.-D. Ker, “ESD protection design for 60-GHz LNA with inductor-triggered SCR in 65-nm CMOS process,” IEEE Trans. on Microwave Theory and Techniques, vol. 60, no. 3, pp. 714-723, Mar. 2012.