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Proceedings Paper

Designing high-performance cost-efficient embedded SRAM in deep-submicron era
Author(s): Olga Kobozeva; Ramnath Venkatraman; Ruggero Castagnetti; Franklin Duan; Arvind Kamath; Shiva Ramesh
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Paper Abstract

We have previously presented the smallest and fastest 6 Transistor (6T)-Static Random Access Memories (SRAM) bitcells for System-on-Chip (SoC) high-density (HD) memories in 0.18 μm and 0.13 μm technologies. Our 1.87 μm2 6TSRAM bitcell with cell current of 47 μA and industry lowest soft error rate (0.35 FIT/Kbit) is used to assemble memory blocks embedded into SoC designs in 0.13 μm process technology. Excellent performance is achieved at a low overall cost, as our bitcells are based on standard CMOS process and demonstrate high yields in manufacturing. This paper discusses our methodology of embedded SRAM bitcell design. The key aspects of our approach are: 1) judicious selection of tightest achievable yet manufacturable design rules to build the cell; 2) compatibility with standard Optical Proximity Correction (OPC) flow; 3) use of parametric testing and yield analysis to achieve excellent design robustness and manufacturability. A thorough understanding of process limitations, particularly those related to photolithography was critical to the successful design and manufacturing of our aggressive, yet robust SRAM bitcells. The patterning of critical layers, such as diffusion, poly gate, contact and metal 1 has profound implications on functionality, electrical performance and manufacturability of memories. We have conducted the development of SRAM bitcells using two approaches for OPC: a) "manual’ OPC, wherein the bitcell layout of each of the critical layers is achieved using iterative improvement of layout & aerial image simulation and b) automated OPC-compatible design, wherein the drawn bitcell layout becomes a subject of a full chip OPC. While manual-OPC remains a popular option, automated OPC-compatible bitcell design is very attractive, as it does not require additional development costs to achieve fab-to-fab portability. In both cases we have obtained good results with respect to patterning of the critical layers, electrical performance of the bitcell and memory yields. A critical part of our memory technology development effort is the design of memory-specific test structures that are used for: a) verifying electrical characteristics of SRAM transistors and b) confirming the robustness of the design rules used within the SRAM cell. In addition to electrical test structures, we have a fully functional SRAM test chip called RAMPCM that is composed of sub-blocks each designated to evaluate the robustness of a specific critical design rule used within the bitcells. The results from the electrical testing and RAMPCM yield analysis are used to identify opportunities for improvements in the layout design. The paper will also suggest some techniques that can result in more design friendly OPC solutions. Our work indicates that future IC designs can benefit from an automated OPC tool that can intelligently handle layout modifications according to design priorities.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 May 2004
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5379, Design and Process Integration for Microelectronic Manufacturing II, (3 May 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.536016
Show Author Affiliations
Olga Kobozeva, LSI Logic Corp. (United States)
Ramnath Venkatraman, LSI Logic Corp. (United States)
Ruggero Castagnetti, LSI Logic Corp. (United States)
Franklin Duan, LSI Logic Corp. (United States)
Arvind Kamath, LSI Logic Corp. (United States)
Shiva Ramesh, LSI Logic Corp. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5379:
Design and Process Integration for Microelectronic Manufacturing II
Lars W. Liebmann, Editor(s)

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