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A newly developed refresh scheme is introduced in a 16-Mb flash EEPROM. By providing each refresh block with its own nonvolatile element, excessive voltage stress of the flag element can be eliminated during the erase/program cycling. A small sector erase can be realized in the 16-Mb flash memory with this scheme. The EEPROM is realised in a 0.6 /spl mu/m single-metal triple-well CMOS process technology.