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In an SRAM circuit, the leakage currents on the bit lines are getting increasingly prominent with the dwindling of transistors' threshold voltages as the technology scales down to 90 nm and beyond. Excessive bit-line leakage current results in slower read operations or even functional failure. In this paper, we present a new technique, called X-calibration, to combat this phenomenon. Unlike the previous method that attempts to compensate the leakage current directly, this scheme first transforms the bit-line leakage current into an equilibrium offset voltage across the bit-line pair, and then simple circuitry is utilized to cancel this offset accurately at the input of the sense amplifier so that the sensing is not affected by the bit-line leakage. SPICE simulation of a 1 Kbit SRAM macro shows that this X-calibration scheme can handle 83% higher bit-line leakage current than the previous bit-line leakage compensation scheme. Measurement results of the test chip show that the SRAM macro adopting X-calibration scheme can cope with up to 320 muA bit-line leakage current.
Date of Publication: Sept. 2008