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Bit-Cell Level Optimization for Non-volatile Memories Using Magnetic Tunnel Junctions and Spin-Transfer Torque Switching

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3 Author(s)
Xuanyao Fong ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN, USA ; Choday, S.H. ; Roy, K.

Spin-transfer torque magnetic random access memories (STT-MRAM), using magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJ), is a resistive memory technology that has spurred significant research interest due to its potential for on-chip, high-density, high-speed, low-power, and non-volatile memory. However, due to conflicting read and write requirements, there is a need to develop optimization techniques for designing STT-MRAM bit-cells to minimize read and write failures. We propose an optimization technique that minimizes read and write failures by proper selection of bit-cell configuration and by proper access transistor sizing. A mixed-mode simulation framework was developed to evaluate the effectiveness of our optimization technique. Our simulation framework captures the transport physics in the MTJ using Non-Equilibrium Green's Function method and self-consistently solves the MTJ magnetization dynamics using Landau-Lifshitz-Gilbert equation augmented with the full Slonczewski spin-torque term. The electrical parameters of the MTJ are then encapsulated in a Verilog-A model and used in HSPICE to perform bit-cell level optimization. The optimization technique is applied to STT-MRAM bit-cells designed using 45 nm bulk and 45 nm silicon-on-insulator CMOS technologies. Finally, predictions are made for optimized STT-MRAM bit-cells designed in 16 nm predictive technology.

Published in:

Nanotechnology, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 1 )