TSMC turns logic FinFET into ReRAM

TSMC turns logic FinFET into ReRAM

Technology News |
By eeNews Europe

As nature and engineering usually contrive to make things difficult for engineers this is seemingly a most unusually convenient development. And also potentially an industry-changing development.

The paper is set to show that hafnium-dioxide high-k dielectric material, which is used in the high-k metal gate (HKMG) of a 16nm FinFET, can also be used as a resistive memory device. It is likely that the dielectric is laid down as a separate ReRAM device adjacent to the transistor. The paper comes shortly after Intel and Micron announced a development in non-volatile memory technology dubbed 3D Xpoint (see Intel, Micron launch "bulk-switching" ReRAM).

However, at IEDM researchers from Taiwan’s Tsing-Hua University and foundry chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. are set to report on a 1kbit memory array made using TSMC’s 16nm FinFET logic manufacturing process. It is dubbed a FinFET Dielectric memory, or FIND.

Paper 10.1 is: 1Kbit FinFET Dielectric (FIND) RRAM in Pure 16nm FinFET CMOS Logic Process.

Other virtues of the approach are that the FinFET can be used as the select transistor in the array and the dioxide-based resistive dielectric film for a storage node of the ReRAM cell. No additional masks or process steps are required, the paper’s abstract states. The ReRAM cell size is 0.07632 square micrometers. This means that the memory, if it can show the desired read, read and endurance performance is intrinsically available as an embedded memory for SoCs. It could even allow a logic process to be used for making discrete memory ICs.

Next: What a coincidence

Hafnium dioxide has been used for many years as the high dielectric constant "insulator" within logic transistors. At the same time as a dielectric material it has also been extensively studied by research institutes such as IMEC and Tsing-Hua University as a transition metal oxide with potential as a two-terminal resistive RAM.

The abstract states that the 1-kbit device shows low-voltage operation, good retention and excellent reliability and concludes that the FIND ReRAM is a promising embedded non-volatile memory for the FinFET era.

There doesn’t appear to be any paper at IEDM on the underlying technology behind the Intel, Micron 3D Xpoint.

IEDM is scheduled to take place at the Washington D.C. Hilton Hotel from December 7 to 9.

Related links and articles:

IEDM 2015 memory session

News articles:

Crossbar raises $35 million for ReRAM roll out

Intel, Micron launch "bulk-switching" ReRAM

MEMS, sensors get four sessions at IEDM 2015

Image sensors get seven papers at IEDM 2015

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