Avalanche-induced breakdown mechanisms for short-channel MOSFET’s are discussed. A simple analytical model that combines the effects due to the ohmic drop caused by the substrate current and the positive feedback effect of the substrate lateral bipolar transistor is proposed. It is shown that two conditions must be satisfied before breakdown will occur. One is the emission of minority carriers into the substrate from the source junction, the other is sufficient avalanche multiplication to cause significant positive feedback. Analytical theory has been developed with the use of a published model for short-channel MOSFET’s. The calculated breakdown characteristics agree well with experiments for a wide range of processing parameters and geometries.