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Publication numberUS20030095456 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/991,571
Publication dateMay 22, 2003
Filing dateNov 16, 2001
Priority dateNov 16, 2001
Also published asDE10246738A1, DE10246738B4, US6563753
Publication number09991571, 991571, US 2003/0095456 A1, US 2003/095456 A1, US 20030095456 A1, US 20030095456A1, US 2003095456 A1, US 2003095456A1, US-A1-20030095456, US-A1-2003095456, US2003/0095456A1, US2003/095456A1, US20030095456 A1, US20030095456A1, US2003095456 A1, US2003095456A1
InventorsJurgen Rickes, Hugh McAdams, James Grace
Original AssigneeRickes Jurgen T., Mcadams Hugh P., Grace James W.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Sense amplifier with independent write-back capability for ferroelectric random-access memories
US 20030095456 A1
Abstract
A sensing circuit with independent write-back capability includes a write back function block having a write-back output signal, a sense amplifier that receives an input and a reference signal. The sense amplifier generates an output signal and the write back function block further receives this output signal. An optional data buffer also receives the output signal.
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Claims(11)
We claim:
1. A sensing circuit having independent write-back capability comprising:
a sense amplifier which compares an input to a reference signal and generates an output signal; and
a tri-statable write-back block having an enable and an write-back output signal;
wherein the output signal of the sense amplifier is coupled to the write back block.
2. The sensing circuit of claim 1 further including a data buffer receiving the output signal of the sense amplifier.
3. The sensing circuit of claim 2, the sense amplifer including:
a p-channel transistor having a source connected to power and a first drain;
a first and a second leg, each leg connected to the drain of the p-channel transistor and ground, each leg further including,
a first p-channel transistor having a source connected to the first drain,
a second p-channel transistor having a source connected to the drain of the first p-channel transistor at a first node,
two n-channel transistors, connected in parallel, having their drains connected to the drain of the second p-channel transistor at a second node and their sources connected to ground,
a third n-channel transistor, serially connected to the gate of the first p-channel transistor, and
for each leg, the second node connects to the gates of the second p-channel transistor and one of the two n-channel transistors of the other leg;
and
a first n-channel transistor, connected across the first nodes of the first and second legs.
4. The data buffer of claim 2, including:
a first n-channel transistor, having a drain generating a data-out signal, having a gate receiving a control signal; and
a second n-channel transistor, having a drain connected to the source of the first n-channel transistor, a source connected to ground, and a gate receiving the output signal of the sense amplifier.
5. The data buffer of claim 4, further including:
a first p-channel transistor, having a source connected to power, a gate receiving the output signal of the sense amplifier and a drain; and
a second p-channel transistor, connected to the drain of the first p-channel transistor and the drain of the first n-channel transistor, having a gate connected to VDD.
6. The data buffer of claim 4, further including:
a first p-channel transistor, having a source connected to power, a gate receiving the output signal of the sense amplifier and a drain; and
a second p-channel transistor, connected to the drain of the first p-channel transistor and the drain of the first n-channel transistor, having a gate connected to the complement of the gate control signal of the first n-channel transistor.
7. The sensing circuit of claim 1, the write-back block including:
a first p-channel transistor having a source connected to power;
a second p-channel transistor having a source connected to the drain of the first p-channel transistor;
a first n-channel transistor, having a drain connected to the drain of the second p-channel transistor forming the write-back output signal which is connected to the input signal; and
a second n-channel transistor, having a drain connected to the source of the first n-channel transistor, having a source connected to ground;
wherein the gates of the first p-channel and second n-channel transistors receive the complementary output signal (is there an antecedent here in claim 1?).
8. A method of sensing of differential data, consisting of:
receiving a differential input signal on an input and a reference input;
amplifying the differential input signal;
buffering the output signal; and
writing-back the data to the input.
9. The method of sensing as defined in claim 8, wherein the steps of writing-back and amplifying occur independently.
10. The method of sensing as defined in claim 8, for a single reception of differential input data and the steps of amplifying and buffering are repeated.
11. A sense amplifer comprising:
a p-channel transistor having a source connected to power and a first drain;
a first and a second leg, each leg connected to the drain of the p-channel transistor and ground, each leg further including,
a first p-channel transistor having a source connected to the first drain,
a second p-channel transistor having a source connected to the drain of the first p-channel transistor at a first node,
two n-channel transistors, connected in parallel, connected to the drain of the second p-channel transistor at a second node and ground,
a third n-channel transistor, serially connected to the gate of the first p-channel transistor, and
for each leg, the second node connects to the second p-channel transistor and one of the two n-channel transistors of the other leg; and
a first n-channel transistor, connected across the first nodes of the first and second legs.
Description
BACKGROUND

[0001] The digital differential comparator, shown in FIG. 1, has been used in Dynamic Random-Access memories (DRAMs), as well as Static Random-Access memories (SRAMs). However, this circuit usually finds application in the data path external to the memory array itself, amplifying the data signal received from the memory array and passing it on to the output buffer. Since this circuit lacks any ability to write-back onto the input nodes, and since it is somewhat more complex than the traditional latching sense amplifier, shown in FIG. 2, it does not normally find use in the memory array itself.

[0002] Ferroelectric memories are superior to EEPROMs and Flash memories in terms of write-access time and overall power consumption. They are used in applications where a non-volatile memory is required with these features, e.g. digital cameras and contact less smart cards. Contact less smart cards require non-volatile memories with low power consumption as they use only electromagnetic coupling to power up the electronic chips on the card. Digital cameras require both low power consumption and fast frequent writes in order to store and restore an entire image into the memory in less than 0.1 seconds.

[0003] A typical read access of a ferroelectric memory consists of a write access followed by sensing. To illustrate, a 0 is written to the ferroelectric capacitor to discover the original data content of the memory cell. If the original content of the memory cell is a 1, writing a 0 reverses the direction of the polarization within the ferroelectric capacitor. This induces a large current spike on the sense wire. On the other hand, there is no current spike on the sensing wire if the original content of the ferroelectric capacitor was also a 0. Therefore, by sensing the presence of a current spike on the sensing wire, the original data of the accessed ferroelectric capacitor are determined.

[0004] The read operation as described is destructive since a 0 is written to any memory cell that is accessed for a read. The original data, however, are saved in the sense amplifier and can be restored back into the accessed memory cell. In other words, a read access is only complete after the second write that restores the original data.

SUMMARY

[0005] A sensing circuit with independent write-back capability includes a sense amplifier that receives an input and a reference signal and a tri-statable write-back block receiving a write enable signal and the sense amplifier's output signal. An optional data buffer also receives the sense amplifier's output signal.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006]FIG. 1 illustrates a digital differential comparator of the prior art.

[0007]FIG. 2 illustrates as prior art latching sense amplifier.

[0008]FIG. 3 illustrates a functional block diagram of the present invention.

[0009]FIG. 4 illustrates the write-back function block shown in FIG. 3.

[0010]FIG. 5 illustrates the sense amplifier shown in FIG. 4.

[0011]FIG. 6 illustrates the optional data buffer shown in FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0012] The optimum number of cells per bit line of a ferroelectric memory tends to be larger than that of a DRAM. Therefore, a somewhat more complex sense amplifier can be more easily tolerated, since there are fewer partitions of the memory array and the cell efficiency tends to be higher. The higher bit line capacitance of the FeRAM, due to the larger number of bits, means that use of a prior latching sense amplifier (shown in FIG. 2) results in even slower access time. Since an adequate voltage separation between bit line and bit line bar must occur before they can be coupled to the output data path, additional time is required to charge or discharge the heavily loaded bit lines.

[0013] A functional block diagram 10 of the present invention is shown in FIG. 3. The write-back function block 12 is enabled by input signal WB. During operation, the sense amplifier compares the voltage on the bit line (BL) to the voltage on the reference input (REF). The sense amplifier's output signal (OUT) is received by the write-back function block 12. An optional data buffer 16 also receives the output signal. Thus, the heavily loaded bit line is separated from the lightly loaded internal sensing nodes.

[0014]FIG. 4 illustrates the write-back function block 12 shown in FIG. 3. Serially connected from power to ground are a first and second p-channel transistor followed by a first and a second n-channel transistor. The BL signal is connected to the node between the second p-channel transistor and first n-channel transistor. The gates of the first p-channel transistor and the second n-channel transistor are tied together to node OUT bar which is the complement of the sense amplifier's output signal OUT. The gate of the second p-channel transistor receives a control signal write-back bar (WBB) while the gate of the first n-channel transistor receives a control signal write-back (WB).

[0015]FIG. 5 illustrates the sense amplifier 14 shown in FIG. 3. A third p-channel transistor MP1 has its source connected to power and its drain connected to the first and second leg. Each leg includes two serially connected p-channel transistors (MP2, MP4; MP3, MP5) followed by two parallel connected n-channel transistors (MN3, MN1; MN2, MN4).

[0016] For the first leg, at the OUT bar port, the node between the drain of the second p-channel transistor MP4 and the drains of the two parallel connected n-channel transistors MN3, MN1 are connected to the gate of the second p-channel transistor MP5 of the second leg and the gate of the n-channel transistor MN2. For the second leg, at the OUT port, the node between the drain of the second p-channel transistor MP5 and the drains of the two parallel connected n-channel transistors MN2, MN4 are connected to the gate of the second p-channel transistor MP4 of the first leg and the gate of the second n-channel transistor MN1.

[0017]FIG. 6 illustrates an alternate embodiment for the sense amplifier shown in FIG. 3. In addition to the electrical connectivity as described in FIG. 5, a fifth n-channel transistor MN5 connects nodes N1 and N2 and is used for equalization. A sixth n-channel transistor MN6 is serially connected to the gate of p-channel transistor MP2. A seventh n-channel transistor MN7 is serially connected to the gate of the p-channel transistor MP3. The gates of n-channel transistors MN5, MN6, and MN7 are connected to EN bar. N-channel transistors MN6 and MN7 are isolation devices.

[0018]FIG. 7 illustrates the optional data buffer 16 shown in FIG. 3. A first and a second p-channel transistor are serially connected between power and port DATA. The gate of the first p-channel transistor receives signal OUT, while the gate of the second p-channel transistor receives signal VDD. Two n-channel transistors are serially connected between port DATA and ground. The gate of the first n-channel transistor connects to OUT while the gate of the second n-channel transistor receives signal YS.

[0019] In operation, the lack of write-back capability inherent in the standalone sense amplifier is overcome by the addition of the series p-channel and series n-channel transistors tied to BL, which in a memory array would be the bit or data line. WB and WBB are additional complementary control signals that are generated after the sense amplifier has been activated by applying VSS to EN bar and VDD to EN after OUT and OUT bar have been driven to their full logic levels. Simultaneous with the write-back restore on the bit line, data can be accessed via the YS signal and started on its path to the chip's data output buffer, irrespective of the time required to accomplish the write-back.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7859916 *Dec 18, 2007Dec 28, 2010Micron Technology, Inc.Symmetrically operating single-ended input buffer devices and methods
US8036058Dec 3, 2010Oct 11, 2011Micron Technology, Inc.Symmetrically operating single-ended input buffer devices and methods
US8395956Oct 10, 2011Mar 12, 2013Micron Technology, Inc.Symmetrically operating single-ended input buffer devices and methods
US8565037Mar 12, 2013Oct 22, 2013Micron Technology, Inc.Symmetrically operating single-ended input buffer devices and methods
Classifications
U.S. Classification365/205
International ClassificationG11C11/22, G11C7/06
Cooperative ClassificationG11C7/067, G11C11/22, G11C7/062
European ClassificationG11C7/06C, G11C11/22, G11C7/06S
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 5, 2011FPExpired due to failure to pay maintenance fee
Effective date: 20110513
May 13, 2011LAPSLapse for failure to pay maintenance fees
Dec 20, 2010REMIMaintenance fee reminder mailed
Nov 13, 2006FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Feb 22, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: AVAGO TECHNOLOGIES GENERAL IP PTE. LTD., SINGAPORE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:AGILENT TECHNOLOGIES, INC.;REEL/FRAME:017207/0020
Effective date: 20051201
Mar 27, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: AGILENT TECHNOLOGIES, INC., COLORADO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:RICKES, JURGEN T.;MCADAMS, HUGH P.;GRACE, JAMES W.;REEL/FRAME:012522/0593;SIGNING DATES FROM 20010314 TO 20020325
Owner name: AGILENT TECHNOLOGIES, INC. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY A
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:RICKES, JURGEN T. /AR;REEL/FRAME:012522/0593;SIGNING DATES FROM 20010314 TO 20020325