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GaAs dynamic memory design

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2 Author(s)
O. M. K. Law ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Toronto Univ., Ont., Canada ; C. A. T. Salama

Subthreshold leakage loss is a serious problem for GaAs dynamic memory. Since the leakage current in a MESFET is several orders of magnitude higher than that in a MOSFET, it is difficult to retain the charge at dynamic nodes resulting in data storage errors, In order to solve this problem, a novel DRAM architecture is proposed. The design is based on a cell consisting of a MESFET switch and a metal-insulator-metal (MIM) planar capacitor as the storage element. The leakage current is reduced by a level-shift technique and a self-biased transistor is used to maintain the dynamic charge during the sense period. A high performance sense amplifier is used to detect small bit line voltage changes and refresh the stored data. A 1 Kb prototype, fabricated in a 1 μm nonself-aligned GaAs MESFET technology, exhibited a total read/write access time of the order of 3 ns

Published in:

IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits  (Volume:31 ,  Issue: 8 )