|Publication number||USRE37308 E1|
|Application number||US 08/376,300|
|Publication date||Aug 7, 2001|
|Filing date||Jan 23, 1995|
|Priority date||Dec 22, 1986|
|Publication number||08376300, 376300, US RE37308 E1, US RE37308E1, US-E1-RE37308, USRE37308 E1, USRE37308E1|
|Inventors||Paolo G. Cappelletti, Giuseppe Corda, Carlo Riva|
|Original Assignee||Stmicroelectronics S.R.L.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (13), Non-Patent Citations (6), Referenced by (2), Classifications (11), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This reissue application is a continuation of reissue application Ser. No. 08/242,803, filed May 13, 1994, now abandoned, which is a continuation of reissue application Ser. No. 07/901,254, filed Jun. 19, 1992, now abandoned, which is a reissue application for the reissue of U.S. Pat. No. 4,935,790 granted Jun. 19, 1990.
The present invention relates to an EEPROM memory cell with a single level of polysilicon which can be programmed and erased bit by bit.
There are several references in the literature pertaining to EEPROM cells with a single level of polysilicon which are programmed and erased by Fowler-Nordheim tunneling through a thin oxide or tunnel oxide, utilizing the capacitive couplings between the control gate, the floating gate and the semiconductor substrate.
These cells comprise a selection transistor, a detection transistor and a tunnel condensor. The tunnel condenser is formed by a thin oxide zone with implantation of n− phosphorous partially superimposed on the drain diffusion of the detection transistor. A single layer of polysilicon forms the gate of the selection transistor. Separately from the gate of the selection transistor, the single layer of polysilicon forms, in a single piece, (1) an armature of the tunnel condenser, (2) the floating gate of the detection transistor, and (3) an armature of a coupling condenser of the control gate formed with an n+ diffusion.
Despite the benefit represented by the simplicity of the fabrication process resulting from the use of an n+ diffusion as the control gate, these known cells have the drawback of being writable by bit but erasable by line (writing being equivalent to the ejection of electrons from the floating gate and erasing being equivalent to the injection of electrons to said floating gate). This is due to the fact that the n+ diffusion of the control gate is common to all the cells of a given memory line so that the cancellation order, represented by a high level of voltage applied to said n+ diffusion, is automatically and unavoidably extended to all the cells which have the n+ diffusion in common, i.e. to all the cells of a given line.
Considering this state of the art, the object of the present invention is to accomplish an EEPROM memory cell with a single level of polysilicon which would be both writable and erasable by individual bits.
In accordance with the invention, the above object is achieved by an EEPROM memory cell comprising: a selection transistor, a detection transistor with a floating gate and a control gate, and a tunnel condenser. A thin oxide zone is formed using a single layer of polysilicon for the gate of the selection transistor, the floating gate of the detection transistor and the tunnel condenser and an n+ diffusion is formed for the control gate. The n+ diffusion is closed and isolated from that of the other cells of the same memory.
In this manner, the programming sequence applied distinctly to the n+ diffusion of each individual cell allows a bit-by-bit ERASE operation. Writing is similarly possible bit by bit, performed in the conventional manner by raising the level of the gate of the selection transistor of an entire memory line with the drain contacts to ground (or floating) for all the columns except that of the selected cell.
The characteristics of the present invention will be made clearer by the following detailed description of two possible embodiments illustrated as nonlimiting examples in the annexed drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 shows a schematic plan view of a first EEPROM cell with a single level of polysilicon in accordance with the present invention,
FIG. 2 shows a cross section of the cell of FIG. 1 along line II—II of FIG. 1,
FIG. 3 shows a cross section of the cell of FIG. 1 along line III—III of FIG. 1, and
FIG. 4 shows a schematic plan view of a second EEPROM cell with a single level of polysilicon in accordance with the present invention.
With reference to FIGS. 1-3 there is shown an EEPROM memory cell in accordance with the invention which comprises a selection transistor 1, a detection transistor 2 and a tunnel condenser 3.
More specifically, on a semiconducting substrate 4 are provided a plurality of active areas with n+ diffusion 5A, 5B, 6A, 6B, 6C, and 6D. A gate oxide 7 (FIGS. 2 and 3) is then grown on the active areas 6A-6D. A thin oxide zone 8 is grown on portions of active areas 6B and 6C, as shown in FIG. 3. A single polysilicon layer 9 further superimposed is formed by a straight strip 10 which forms the gate of the selection transistor 1 and by a U-part 11 which has a first branch 12 placed on the thin oxide zone 8 close to and above the active areas 6B and 6C to form the tunnel condenser 3. A second branch 13 of the U-part 11 is placed on the gate oxide 7 above portions of the active areas 6C and 6D to form the floating gate to the detection transistor 2. The U-part 11 then forms a connection space 14, partially above the active area 5B, to form, together with an underlying n+ diffusion 15, the control gate 20 of the detection transistor 2. As may be seen in FIG. 1, the n+ diffusion 15 is closed and isolated as regards those of the other cells of the same memory. Reference number 16 indicates a drain contact while reference number 17 indicates an output contact. Further, oxide 18 is superimposed on the layer of polysilicon 9 (FIGS. 2 and 3).
In operation, writing (i.e. the extraction of electrons from the floating gate 13 of the detection transistor 2) is performed by bringing the gate 10 of the selection transistor 1 to a high voltage level while maintaining; all the drain contacts 16 grounded (or floating), except the drain contacts of the cells of the column to which the selected cell belongs. Writing is then performed by individual bit selection.
The ERASE operation (i.e. injection of electrons to the floating gate 13 of the detection transistor 2) is, in turn, performed by bringing the gate 10 of the selection transistor 1 to a high level as well as the contact 17 of the column to which the selected cell belongs which, consequently, brings the n diffusion to a correspondingly high level. Since the n diffusion representing the control gate is closed and isolated, the ERASE operation is also performed bit by bit.
An essentially similar structure according to another embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 4. The only difference between the first and second embodiments is the fact that the tunnel condenser 3 of the second embodiment is formed at the intersection of the polysilicon branch 12 and a branch 19 of the active area 6B where the thin oxide zone 8 is provided.
The manner of operation of the cell of FIG. 4 is identical to that already described for the cell of FIGS. 1-3.
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US7088135||Jan 20, 2004||Aug 8, 2006||Stmicroelectronics S.R.L.||Nonvolatile switch, in particular for high-density nonvolatile programmable-logic devices|
|US20040233736 *||Jan 20, 2004||Nov 25, 2004||Stmicroelectronics S.R.L.||Nonvolatile switch, in particular for high-density nonvolatile programmable-logic devices|
|U.S. Classification||257/318, 257/315, 257/316, 257/321, 365/185.08|
|International Classification||H01L27/115, H01L29/788|
|Cooperative Classification||H01L29/7883, H01L27/115|
|European Classification||H01L29/788B4, H01L27/115|