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Publication numberUS20020167840 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/994,767
Publication dateNov 14, 2002
Filing dateNov 28, 2001
Priority dateMay 9, 2001
Also published asUS6477085, US6771539, US20020196663
Publication number09994767, 994767, US 2002/0167840 A1, US 2002/167840 A1, US 20020167840 A1, US 20020167840A1, US 2002167840 A1, US 2002167840A1, US-A1-20020167840, US-A1-2002167840, US2002/0167840A1, US2002/167840A1, US20020167840 A1, US20020167840A1, US2002167840 A1, US2002167840A1
InventorsTung-Cheng Kuo
Original AssigneeMacronix International Co., Ltd.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method for operating non-volatile memory with symmetrical dual-channels
US 20020167840 A1
Abstract
A method for operating a non-volatile memory with symmetrical dual-channels. A programmed step is performed on the non-volatile memory to retain charges in both sides of an ONO layer so that the symmetrical dual-channels are generated and the one-bit writing step is completed. Afterwards, a selected voltage is simultaneously exerted on a first bit line and a third bit line to select a second bit line of the symmetrical dual-channels. Finally, a reading voltage is applied to the second bit line to acquire a reading current which is the sum of total current through the symmetrical dual-channels for increasing the reading speed of the non-volatile memory.
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Claims(16)
What is claimed is:
1. A writing method for operating a non-volatile memory with symmetrical dual-channels, comprising:
applying a writing voltage to a second bit line to program electrically a unit cell having symmetrical dual-channels, wherein the symmetrical dual-channels retain a plurality of charges in both sides of said second bit line;
grounding a first bit line and a third bit line;
applying a positive voltage to a second word line; and
grounding a first word line and a third word line.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein said non-volatile memory comprises NROM.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein said writing voltage has a range of about 4 to 10 volts.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein said positive voltage has a range of about 8 to 13 volts.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein said critical voltage comprises a high threshold voltage and a low threshold voltage.
6. The method of claim 5, wherein said low threshold voltage has a range of about 1.6 volts to 0.9 volt.
7. The method of claim 6, wherein a driving voltage indicating a difference between said reading voltage and said critical voltage has a range of about 1 to 1.4 volts.
8. The method of claim 7, wherein a driving current corresponding to said driving voltage has a range of about 50 to 60 μA.
9. A reading method for operating a non-volatile memory with symmetrical dual-channels, comprising:
applying a selective voltage to a first bit line and a third bit line to select a unit cell having symmetrical dual-channels which retain a plurality of charges in both sides of a second bit line having an ONO layer;
grounding said second word line;
applying a reading voltage to said second word line to fetch a reading current through said symmetrical dual-channels; and
grounding a first word line and a third word line.
10. The method of claim 9, wherein said non-volatile memory comprises NROM.
11. The method of claim 9, wherein said selective voltage has a range of about 1.2 to 2.4 volts.
12. The method of claim 9, wherein said reading volts have a range of about 2.0 to 3.5 volts.
13. The method of claim 9, wherein said critical voltage comprises a high threshold voltage and a low threshold voltage.
14. The method of claim 13, wherein said low threshold voltage has a range of about 1.6 volts to 0.9 volt.
15. The method of claim 14, wherein a driving voltage indicating a difference between said reading voltage and said critical voltage has a range of about 1 to 1.4 volts.
16. The method of claim 15, wherein a driving current corresponding to said driving voltage has a range of about 50 to 60 μA.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention generally relates to a method for operating non-volatile memory, and more particularly, to a method for operating non-volatile memory with a symmetrical dual-channels.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] With the rapid developments of electronic industry and computer technology, the electronic products are widely used in daily routines and improve the quality of the life. Generally, a variety of memories are utilized in many electronic products to provide temporary space for switching and storing data. On the one hand, the non-volatile characteristic of the flash memory allows repeated writing to record the data status, but the flash memory does not need a power supply and periodic refreshing. On the other hand, due to improvements in the flash memory's structure and semiconductor techniques, the flash memory can accumulate a great number of cells since the dimensions of the integrated circuits (ICs) are greatly reduced.

[0003] The size reduction of the device may also shrink the data signal, with the result that the reading speed decreases the overall performance of the flash memory. Even charges stored in the cell are lost such that the cell's life is reduced when a higher drain voltage is employed. More severely, the reading speed of data signals is read in proportion to the reading current through the memory cell, so the reading speed may be slower due to the minimized reading current.

[0004] Conventionally, for the same channel length of memory cell, even a small increase in the channel length to enhance the reading current greatly increases the circuit size, resulting in the increment of the IC's integrity. FIG. 1A-1B show a local view and the cross-sectional views along the A-A line of the flash memory's cell.

[0005] An ONO layer 102 is formed on the substrate 100, and the bit lines 106 are formed thereon by an ion implanting process. In the same time, a bit diffusion oxide 108 is formed on the bit lines 106. Thereafter, a polysilicon layer, used as word line 104, is fabricated on the ONO layer 102 and the bit lines 106 to construct the flash memory array. The conventional flash memory's cell 110 comprises a first bit line 106 a and a second bit line 106 b, and the charges are trapped near the sides of the two bit lines 106 a, 106 b.

[0006] During a reading operation, the charges 112 a near the first bit line 106 a of ONO layer 102 are read in turn. Afterwards, the charges 112 b near the second bit line 106 b of ONO layer 102 are also read. The reading mode of the cell is bit line by bit line to acquire the data status, and the reading current only comes from a single path 114, such as channel 116, so that the reading current is severely minimized. If the reading current through each of channel is increased, the reading voltage imposed on the first bit line 106 a and the second bit line 106 b must also be increased such that the charges stored will be mostly lost.

[0007] Consequently, the reading current induced from the conventional flash memory mode is too small to enhance reading speed. Additionally, at the same reading speed corresponding to a higher reading voltage, the operation numbers decrease leading to a reduction in the flash memory's life.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] A problem encountered with the conventional flash memory is that the reading current thereof is extremely small so that the reading speed is decreased. Moreover, imposition of a higher reading voltage on the flash memory's cell reduces the operation life thereof.

[0009] As a result, the primary object of the present invention is to utilize the flash memory with dual-channels to increase the reading current, thereby effectively increasing the reading speed of the flash memory.

[0010] Another object of the present invention is to use a lower reading voltage corresponding to an optimum reading current to prevent charges from running off, and to increase the operation rates of the flash memory.

[0011] According to the above objects, the present invention sets forth a method of operating a flash memory with symmetrical dual-channels. An ONO layer is formed on the substrate. Afterwards, bit line patterns are defined by lithography and etching processes, and then an ion implanting process is performed to form bit lines on the substrate according to the bit lines pattern. After that, the bit line diffusion oxide is formed on the bit lines. Finally, a polysilicon layer is formed on the ONO layer and the bit lines to generate the flash memory having unit cells with symmetrical dual-channels. Specifically, the operation modes of flash memory with symmetrical dual-channels essentially comprise writing and reading procedures.

[0012] During the writing procedure, a writing voltage is applied to the second bit line to program electrically the unit cell with symmetrical dual-channels and charges are retained in both sides of the second bit lines to indicate the data status. Thereafter, both a first bit line and a third bit line are grounded. Next, a positive voltage is imposed on the second word line. Finally, both a first word line and a third word line are grounded. A critical voltage is induced by these retained charges to complete a bit writing process.

[0013] During the reading procedure, a selective voltage is added to the first bit line and the third bit line to select the second bit line with symmetrical dual-channels. Then, the second bit line is grounded. After that, the reading voltage is exerted on the second bit line to fetch the reading current which is the sum of total current through the symmetrical dual-channels for increasing the reading speed of the flash memory.

[0014] In the present invention, the method for operating the non-volatile memory with symmetrical dual-channels is used to simultaneously output reading currents that enhance the reading speed of the data signals. Alternatively, a lower reading voltage corresponding to the optimum reading current increases the operation rates of the flash memory.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] The foregoing aspects and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will become more readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0016]FIG. 1A illustrates a cross-sectional view of a conventional flash memory cell;

[0017]FIG. 1B illustrates a layout view of the conventional flash memory;

[0018]FIG. 2A illustrates a cross-sectional view of a flash memory with symmetrical dual-channels in accordance with the present invention; and

[0019]FIG. 2B illustrates a layout view of the flash memory with symmetrical dual-channels in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0020] The present invention is directed to a method of operating non-volatile memory, such as nitride read only memory (NROM), with symmetrical dual-channels, to simultaneously output a reading current from the dual-channels thereby enlarging the flash memory's reading speed. Further, a lower reading voltage corresponding to an optimum reading current is used to prevent charge run off and to increase the operation rates of the flash memory.

[0021] FIGS. 2A-2B show a cross-sectional view and a layout view of the flash memory with symmetrical dual-channels in accordance with the present invention. First, an ONO layer 202, having a first oxide layer 202 a, a nitride oxide layer 202 b and a second oxide layer 202 c, is formed on a substrate 200. Preferably, the first oxide layer 202 a has a thickness between about 50 and 90 angstroms, the nitride oxide layer 202 b has a thickness between about 30 and 70 angstroms, and the second oxide layer 202 c has thickness between about 60 and 100 angstroms. Afterwards, bit line patterns are defined by lithography and etching processes, and then an ion implanting process implanting, for example, N+ions, is performed to form bit lines on the substrate according to the bit line patterns. After that, a bit line diffusion oxide is formed on the bit lines by, for example, thermal oxidation. Finally, a polysilicon layer, using as a word line 204 is formed on the ONO layer 202 and the bit lines (206 a-206 c) to generate unit cell 210 with symmetrical dual-channels.

[0022] While the cell 210 is being programmed, a writing voltage is applied to the second bit line 206 b. The writing voltage electrically programs the unit cell 210 with symmetrical dual-channels. The charges are retained in both sides (212 a, 212 b) of the second bit line 206 b, which charges form a dual-channel structure to represent data status. Thereafter, both a first bit line 206 a and a third bit line 206 c are grounded. Next, a positive voltage is imposed on the second word line 204 b. Finally, both a first word line 204 a and a third word line 204 c are grounded. A critical voltage is induced by the charges retained to complete the writing step of a bit. The writing voltage is between about 4 and 10 volts, and preferably is about 6 to 8 volts. In addition, the positive voltage is between about 8 and 13 volts, and preferably is about 10 to 12 volts.

[0023] Charges, trapped in the channel 212, are attracted to an electrical isolation layer, such as silicon nitride layer 202 b, by an electrical field during a writing process. The electrical fields collect charges in both sides of the second bit line 206 b to generate the critical voltage.

[0024] While the cell 210 is read, a selective voltage is applied to the first bit line 206 a and the third bit line 206 c to select the second bit line 206 b with symmetrical dual-channels. Then, the second bit line 206 b is grounded. After that, the reading voltage is exerted on the second bit line 206 b and fetches the reading current. The reading current is the sum of total current through the path (214 a, 214 b) of the symmetrical dual-channels 212 for increasing the reading speed of the flash memory. The selective voltage is between about 1.2 and 2.4 volts, and preferably is about 1.3 and 1.9 volts. In addition, the reading voltage is between about 2.0 and 3.5 volts, and preferably, is about 2.2 to 3.2 volts.

[0025] Since charges are retained in both sides of the second bit line 206 b, which construct a cell 210 with symmetrical dual-channels 212, the reading current (IR) can be concurrently acquired through the symmetrical dual-channels 212 to get a volume current which is higher than that of single channel while a reading voltage (VR) is imposed on the second bit line 206 b. In other words, during the reading process, the current status within the dual-channels can be detected to show the charges status corresponding to the reading operation.

[0026] In general, the charges retained inside the ONO layer 202 are able to induce a critical voltage including a high threshold voltage and a low threshold voltage. The high threshold voltage shows the higher level and the low threshold voltage shows lower level with respect to data status. Additionally, the high threshold voltage retards the current and the low threshold voltage effectively accelerates the current.

[0027] Moreover, a driving voltage, indicating the range of reading voltage and critical voltage, is used to dominate the total current. Under the same reading current (IR), a lower reading voltage imposed on the cell can prevent charge loss. Namely, the reading voltage is maintained in the largest voltage difference between the high threshold voltage and the low threshold voltage, respectively, with the largest voltage difference corresponding to an optimum reading current. As a result, the operation rates of flash memory with dual-channels can be increased by acquiring a higher reading current or by decreasing the reading current to an optimum reading current corresponding to a preferred reading voltage.

[0028] During the programming process, the above-mentioned steps can be adjusted according to various requirements and designs and still be completed. In addition, the voltage values used in the steps adapt to an optimum range depending on process techniques, design rules, oxidation, and the thickness of dielectric layer of device.

[0029] In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, in light of the sustained capability of the device, the reading voltage is between about 2.5 and 2 volts. Preferably, the high threshold voltage (VH) is between about 4 and 3.5 volts and the low threshold voltage (VL) is between about 1.6 volts and 0.9 volts. More preferably, the driving between the reading voltage and low threshold voltage has a range of about 1.0 volt to 1.4 volts, and the reading current has a range of about 50 to 60 μA.

[0030] In summary, the method for operating the non-volatile memory with symmetrical dual-channels 212 is used to simultaneously output reading current that enhances the reading speed of the data signals. Alternatively, a lower reading voltage corresponding to the optimum reading current increases the operation rates of the flash memory.

[0031] As is understood by a person skilled in the art, the foregoing preferred embodiments of the present invention are illustrative rather than limiting of the present invention. It is intended that various modifications and similar arrangements be included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims, the scope of which should be accorded the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and similar structure.

Classifications
U.S. Classification365/185.18
International ClassificationG11C16/04
Cooperative ClassificationG11C16/0466
European ClassificationG11C16/04M
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 3, 2014FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 12
Nov 30, 2009FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 8
May 3, 2006FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Nov 28, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: MACRONIX INTERNATIONAL CO., LTD., TAIWAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:KUO, TUNG-CHENG;REEL/FRAME:012330/0104
Effective date: 20011105
Owner name: MACRONIX INTERNATIONAL CO., LTD. SCIENCE-BASED IND
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:KUO, TUNG-CHENG /AR;REEL/FRAME:012330/0104