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SRAM Read-Assist Scheme for Low Power High Performance Applications

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SRAM Read-Assist Scheme for Low Power High Performance Applications

Valaee, Ali (2011) SRAM Read-Assist Scheme for Low Power High Performance Applications. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Semiconductor technology scaling resulted in a considerable reduction in the transistor cost and an astonishing enhancement in the performance of VLSI (very large scale integration) systems. These nanoscale technologies have facilitated integration of large SRAMs which are now very popular for both processors and system-on-chip (SOC) designs. The density of SRAM array had a quadratic increase with each generation of CMOS technology. However, these nanoscale technologies unveiled few significant challenges to the design of high performance and low power embedded memories. First, process variation has become more significant in these technologies which threaten reliability of sensing circuitry. In order to alleviate this problem, we need to have larger signal swings on the bitlines (BLs) which degrade speed as well as power dissipation. The second challenge is due to the variation in the cell current which will reduce the worst case cell current. Since this cell current is responsible for discharging BLs, this problem will translate to longer activation time for the wordlines (WLs). The longer the WL pulse width is, the more likely is the cell to be unstable. A long WL pulse width can also degrade noise margin. Furthermore, as a result of continuous increase in the size of SRAMs, the BL capacitance has increased significantly which will deteriorate speed as well as power dissipation. The aforementioned problems require additional techniques and treatment such as read-assist techniques to insure fast, low power and reliable read operation in nanoscaled SRAMs. In this research we address these concerns and propose a read-assist sense amplifier (SA) in 65nm CMOS technology that expedites the process of developing differential voltage to be sensed by sense amplifier while reducing voltage swing on the BLs which will result in increased sensing speed, lower power and shorter WL activation time. A complete comparison is made between the proposed scheme, conventional SA and a state of the art design which shows speed improvement and power reduction of 56.1% and 25.9%, respectively over the conventional scheme at the expense of negligible area overhead. Also, the proposed scheme enables us to reduce cell VDD for having the same sensing speed which results in considerable reduction in leakage power dissipation.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science > Electrical and Computer Engineering
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Valaee, Ali
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A. Sc.
Program:Electrical and Computer Engineering
Date:December 2011
ID Code:36175
Deposited By:ALI VALAEE
Deposited On:18 Jun 2012 10:51
Last Modified:18 Jun 2012 10:51
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