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Many mobile SoC chips employ a “two-macro” approach including volatile and nonvolatile memory macros (i.e. SRAM and Flash), to achieve high-performance or low-voltage power-on operation with the capability of power-off nonvolatile data storage. However, the two-macro approach suffers from slow store/restore speeds due to word-by-word serial transfer of data between the volatile and nonvolatile memories. Slow store/restore speeds require long power-on/off time and leave the device vulnerable to sudden power failure . This study proposes a resistive memory (memristor) based nonvolatile SRAM (or memristor latch) cell to achieve fast bit-to-bit parallel store/restore operations, low store/restore energy consumption, and a compact cell area. This resistive nonvolatile 8T2R (Rnv8T) cell includes two fast-write memristor (RRAM) devices vertical-stacked over the 8T, and a novel 2T memristor-switch, which provides both memristor control and SRAM write-assist functions. The write assist feature enables the Rnv8T cell to use read favored transistor sizing to prevent read/write failure at lower VDDs. We also fabricated the first macro-level memristor-based (or RRAM-based) nonvolatile SRAM. This 16 Kb Rnv8T macro achieved the lowest store energy and R/W VDDmin (0.45 V) of any nonvolatile SRAM or two-macro solution.
Date of Publication: June 2012