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Fault tolerance techniques for high capacity RAM

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2 Author(s)
Shyue-Kung Lu ; Dept. of Electron. Eng., Catholic Univ., Taipei, Taiwan ; Chih-Hsien Hsu

As the complexity and size of the embedded memories keep increasing, improving the yield of embedded memories is the key step toward improving the overall chip yield of a SOC design. The most well known way to improve the memory yield is by using redundant elements to replace the faulty cells. However, the repair efficiency mainly depends on the type, and the amount of redundancy; and on the redundancy analysis algorithms. Therefore, new types of redundancy based on divided bit-line (DBL), and divided word-line (DWL) techniques are proposed in this work. A memory column (row), including the redundant column (row), is partitioned into column blocks (row blocks), respectively. A row/column block is used as the basic replacement element instead of a row/column for the traditional approaches. Based on the new types of redundancy, three types of fault-tolerant memory (FTM) systems are also proposed. If a redundant row/column block is used as the basic replacement element, then the row block-based FTM (RBFTM)/column block-based (CBFTM) system is used. If both the DWL, and DBL techniques are implemented onto a memory chip, then the hybrid FTM (HFTM) system is achieved. The storage and remapping of faulty addresses can be implemented with a CAM (content addressable memory) block. To achieving better repair efficiency, a novel hybrid block-repair (HBR) algorithm is also proposed. This algorithm is suitable for hardware implementation with negligible overhead. For the HFTM system, the hardware overheads are less than 0.65%, and 0.7% for 64-Kbit SRAM, and 8-Mbit DRAM, respectively. Moreover, the repair rate can be improved significantly. Experimental results show that our approaches can improve the memory fabrication yield significantly. The characteristics of low power and fast access time of DBL and DWL techniques are also preserved.

Published in:

Reliability, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:55 ,  Issue: 2 )