ELECTRICAL CHARACTERIZATION, PHYSICS, MODELING AND RELIABILITY OF INNOVATIVE NON-VOLATILE MEMORIES

Cristian Zambelli

Abstract


Enclosed in this thesis work it can be found the results of a three years long research activity performed during the XXIV-th cycle of the Ph.D. school in Engineering Science of the Università degli Studi di Ferrara. The topic of this work is concerned about the electrical characterization, physics, modeling and reliability of innovative non-volatile memories, addressing most of the proposed alternative to the floating-gate based memories which currently are facing a technology dead end. Throughout the chapters of this thesis it will be provided a detailed characterization of the envisioned replacements for the common NOR and NAND Flash technologies into the near future embedded and MPSoCs (Multi Processing System on Chip) systems. In Chapter 1 it will be introduced the non-volatile memory technology with direct reference on nowadays Flash mainstream, providing indications and comments on why the system designers should be forced to change the approach to new memory concepts. In Chapter 2 it will be presented one of the most studied post-floating gate memory technology for MPSoCs: the Phase Change Memory. The results of an extensive electrical characterization performed on these devices led to important discoveries such as the kinematics of the erase operation and potential reliability threats in memory operations. A modeling framework has been developed to support the experimental results and to validate them on projected scaled technology. In Chapter 3 an embedded memory for automotive environment will be shown: the SimpleEE p-channel memory. The characterization of this memory proven the technology robustness providing at the same time new insights on the erratic bits phenomenon largely studied on NOR and NAND counterparts. Chapter 4 will show the research studies performed on a memory device based on the Nano-MEMS concept. This particular memory generation proves to be integrated in very harsh environment such as military applications, geothermal and space avionics. A detailed study on the physical principles underlying this memory will be presented. In Chapter 5 a successor of the standard NAND Flash will be analyzed: the Charge Trapping NAND. This kind of memory shares the same principles of the traditional floating gate technology except for the storage medium which now has been substituted by a discrete nature storage (i.e. silicon nitride traps). The conclusions and the results summary for each memory technology will be provided in Chapter 6. Finally, on Appendix A it will be shown the results of a recently started research activity on the high level reliability memory management exploiting the results of the studies for Phase Change Memories.

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ISSN: 1974-918X