Array Design of High-Density Emerging Memories Making Clamped Bit-Line Sense Amplifier Compatible with Dummy Cell Average Read Scheme

Ziyue ZHANG  Takashi OHSAWA  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Electronics   Vol.E103-C   No.8   pp.372-380
Publication Date: 2020/08/01
Publicized: 2020/02/26
Online ISSN: 1745-1353
DOI: 10.1587/transele.2019ECP5039
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Integrated Electronics
dummy cell average read scheme,  CBLSA,  STT-MRAM,  array design,  high access speed,  

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Reference current used in sense amplifiers is a crucial factor in a single-end read manner for emerging memories. Dummy cell average read scheme uses multiple pairs of dummy cells inside the array to generate an accurate reference current for data sensing. The previous research adopts current mirror sense amplifier (CMSA) which is compatible with the dummy cell average read scheme. However, clamped bit-line sense amplifier (CBLSA) has higher sensing speed and lower power consumption compared with CMSA. Therefore, applying CBLSA to dummy cell average read scheme is expected to enhance the performance. This paper reveals that direct combination of CBLSA and dummy cell average read scheme leads to sense margin degradation. In order to solve this problem, a new array design is proposed to make CBLSA compatible with dummy cell average read scheme. Current mirror structure is employed to prevent CBLSA from being short-circuited directly. The simulation result shows that the minimum sensible tunnel magnetoresistance ratio (TMRR) can be extended from 14.3% down to 1%. The access speed of the proposed sensing scheme is less than 2 ns when TMRR is 70% or larger, which is about twice higher than the previous research. And this circuit design just consumes half of the energy in one read cycle compared with the previous research. In the proposed array architecture, all the dummy cells can be always short-circuited in totally isolated area by low-resistance metal wiring instead of using controlling transistors. This structure is able to contribute to increasing the dummy cell averaging effect. Besides, the array-level simulation validates that the array design is accessible to every data cell. This design is generally applicable to any kinds of resistance-variable emerging memories including STT-MRAM.