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Flash memory boasts fastest random access operation speeds

Posted: 18 Mar 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:flash memory  MCU  automotive apps  split gate  SG-MONOS 

Renesas Electronics Corp. has announced a split gate (SG) flash memory circuit technology for on-chip flash memory microcontrollers (MCUs). According to Renesas, the device adopts the industry's leading-edge 40nm process technology to help achieve high reliability, low power consumption and the industry's fastest random access operation speeds.

Aside from higher level control, equipment that requires high reliability (such as automotive), also require even higher functionality and diversity of functions, such as support for functional safety, security and networking. These demands need larger capacities for flash memory that stores the MCU's software and data. It is necessary to increase the integration density of both the flash memory and peripheral functions included on a single chip by using advanced features in the fabrication process.

Renesas wanted to address these needs and developed the SG-MONOS structure flash memory that offers high speed and reliability and low power consumption.

Key features of the SG-MONOS flash memory technology:

  • Circuit technologies achieve even faster readout
    If the offset voltage of the sense amplifier that amplifies the read data is large, the time for reading data from the cell will be correspondingly long. Renesas developed a sense amplifier that can largely cancel the offset voltage using a correction current, thus increasing the random access speed.
  • Circuit technologies achieve high rewrite durability
    Renesas developed a variable control method that, during write operations, adapts the current applied to the cell according to the progress of the write operation. Renesas also developed a technology for use during erase operations, dynamically controlling the pulse application time to be optimal by monitoring the voltage level applied to the cell. These two developments enable faster rewrite operations and reduce the voltage stress applied to the cell during rewrite, thus allowing the number of rewrite cycles to be increased.

Using these new technologies, Renesas has prototyped both 4 MB program storage flash memory and a 64 KB data storage flash memory fabricated in a 40nm generation process, and has achieved operation at over 160 MHz and high readout speed of 5.1 GB per second—claiming the industry's highest speed for program storage flash memory.

In data storage flash memory, the company boasts that its technology achieved 10 million rewrite cycles, a critical issue in automotive MCUs, even under the high-temperature conditions of Tj = 170°C. This, according to Renesas, indicates that the 40nm automotive flash memory has great potential in terms of rewrite cycle counts.

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