Signal Probability Control for Relieving NBTI in SRAM Cells

Yuji Kunitake1,  Toshinori Sato2,  Hiroto Yasuura1
1Kyushu University, 2Fukuoka University


Negative Bias Temperature Instability (NBTI) is one of the major reliability problems in advanced technologies. NBTI causes threshold voltage degradation in a PMOS transistor which is biased to negative voltage. In an SRAM cell, due to NBTI, threshold voltage degrades in the load PMOS transistors. The degradation has the impact on Static Noise Margin (SNM), which is a measure of read stability of a 6-T SRAM cell. In this paper, we discuss the relationship between NBTI degradation in an SRAM cell and the signal probability. This is because, it is the key parameter of NBTI degradation. Based on the observations, we propose a novel cell-flipping technique in order to make signal probability close to 50%. The long cell-flipping period leads to threshold voltage degradation as large as the original case where the cell-flipping technique is not applied. Thus, we employ the short flipping period to the cell-flipping technique without any stall of operations. In consequence of applying the cell-flipping technique to a register file, we can relieve threshold voltage degradation by 70% after the SRAM cell is used for 3 years.