Digital Timing Control in SRAMs for Yield Enhancement and Graceful Aging Degradation
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Embedded SRAMs can occupy the majority of the chip area in SOCs. The increase in process variation and aging degradation due to technology scaling can severely compromise the integrity of SRAM memory cells, hence resulting in cell failures. Enough cell failures in a memory can lead to it being rejected during initial testing, and hence decrease the manufacturing yield. Or, as a result of long-term applied stress, lead to in-field system failures. Certain types of cell failures can be mitigated through improved timing control. Post-fabrication programmable timing can allow for after-the-fact calibration of timing signals on a per die basis. This allows for a SRAM's timing signals to be generated based on the characteristics specific to the individual chip, thus allowing for an increase in yield and reduction in in-field system failures. In this thesis, a delay line based SRAM timing block with digitally programmable timing signals has been implemented in a 180 nm CMOS technology. Various timing-related cell failure mechanisms including: 1). Operational Read Failures, 2). Cell Stability Failures, and 3). Power Envelope Failures are investigated. Additionally, the major contributing factors for process variation and device aging degradation are discussed in the context of SRAMs. Simulations show that programmable timing can be used to reduce cell failure rates by over 50%.