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Sub-threshold SRAM cells are attractive because of their low leakage power and low access energy. However, the susceptibility of sub-threshold SRAM cells to soft errors is high due to their low supply voltage, high density, and shrinking geometry. Moreover, the increase in statistical variations in advanced nanometer CMOS technologies poses a major challenge for sub-threshold circuits designers. In this paper, analytical models for the sub-threshold SRAM critical charge variations, which account for both die-to-die (D2D) and within-die (WID) variations, are proposed. The derived models are then compared with Monte Carlo simulations by using industrial hardware-calibrated 65-nm CMOS technology. This paper also provides novel design insights such as the impact of the coupling capacitor, one of the most common soft error mitigation techniques, on the critical charge variability. In addition, it demonstrates that the relative critical charge variability is minimum at a certain temperature value. Then, the circuit designer can employ these results with temperature control techniques to minimize the critical charge variability in the early design cycles, especially, for applications with strict soft error rate (SER) constraints. In Zaddition, the proposed models show that the device sub-threshold swing coefficient can be optimized to minimize the relative critical charge variability.
Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:19 , Issue: 2 )
Date of Publication: Feb. 2011