Circuit-Level Benchmarking of Access Devices for Resistive Nonvolatile Memory Arrays P. Narayanan, G. W. Burr, R. S. Shenoy, K. Virwani, and B. Kurdi IBM Research – Almaden, 650 Harry Road, San Jose, CA 95120, Tel: (408) 927–2920, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract NVM Parameters NVM Parameters Access Devices (1AD) for crossbar resistive (1R) memories are compared via circuit-level analysis. We show that in addition to intrinsic properties, AD suitability for 1AD+1R memories is strongly dependent upon (a) nonvolatile memory (NVM) and (b) circuit parameters. We find that (1) building large arrays (≥1Mb) with ≥10uA NVM current would require MIEC ADs and moderate NVM switching voltage (≤1.2V). (2) For all ADs high NVM voltages (>2V) are supported only at sub-5uA currents. AD improvements to expand this design space are discussed. Keywords: 1AD1R, Selector, Access Device, Nonvolatile memory Partially (WL) Selected Cells Selected Cell Partially (BL) Seleccted Cells ((N-1) Unse elect Rowss (Wordline es) VW VR VR VR VB Fig. 1 Crossbar memory array with selected, partially (WL) selected, partially (BL) selected and unselected 1AD+1R cells. (VHRS , IHRS) RHRS RHRS-PF Vh Series Resistance R it (Rs) 10uA 1uA 100nA Vm 1nA 100pA 10pA ‐3 ‐2 ‐1 0 1 2 3 Voltage[V] Fig. 3 IV characteristics of Diode-type ADs (D-ADs): AD parameters – Voltage Margin (Vm – voltage range for current≤10nA), turn-on slope S (voltage for 10× current increase during AD turn-on) and series resistance Rs are indicated. Diode‐Type ADs I(selected NVM) (VLRS , ILRS) INF 100uA 1 A 1pA Simulation Framework We use a generic NVM model (Fig.2) that transitions between Low- and High-Resistance States (LRS, HRS – can be PooleFrenkel (PF) or Ohmic) as a function of applied voltage (default (VHRS , IHRS) 1Mb 2.215Ω parameters in Table 1). Inner voltages VC and VR for unselected bitlines/wordlines are chosen for an aggregate unselect leakage of 10uA (e.g. for 1Mb array, 10pA/device). Total array power to force a worst-case selected NVM through HRS–to–LRS and LRS–to–HRS transitions is estimated. We consider 4 bipolar Diode-type ADs (D-ADs - MIEC , Varistor , Metal-amorphous Si-Metal  and Silicon NPN  - Fig.3). D-ADs are modeled as back-to-back diodes with a noise floor (Fig. 2, top left inset). For all ADs, if IV data is not at scale (∼32nm CD) or if only current-density data is available, we estimate currents assuming constant current-density. Voltage Margin (Vm – defined as voltage range over which current≤10nA), Turn-on Slope (S ) and Series Resistance (Rs ) parameters are extracted (Table 2). High Vm provides a wide lowleakage zone to accomodate partial-select cells in large arrays. Low S and Rs ensure low Voltage-across-AD (VAD ), and consequently low total switching voltage (VSW ) to be applied at the edge of the 10nA VC (M-1) Unselect Columns (Bitlines) Rseries 1.2V, 3uA 0.8V, 30uA 0 35V 0.35V 26.7kΩ, 400kΩ 10MΩ Circuit Parameters Parameters Array Size N × M Interconnect R/cell Rint Currrent Desirable AD properties for 3D resistive crossbar memories (1AD+1R - Fig. 1) include BEOL compatibility, bipolar operation for RRAM/MRAM and large ON/OFF ratios to support high ON- current density through selected cells with ultra-low leakage in unselect and partial select cells. Beyond these basic properties, determining whether an AD is suitable for an NVM requires circuit-level analyses that capture complex interactions between AD, NVM and circuit parameters. We explore capabilities and limitations of ADs in this design space by quantifying key figures of merit such as total power consumption, maximum achievable array size, and ranges of NVM voltages, currents supported. VC VHRS, IHRS VLRS, ILRS Vh RLRS, RHRS RHRS‐PF Table. 1 Default NVM and Circuit Simulation parameters. Introduction VC SET Switching RESET Switching Holding V (SET) V (SET) Resistance States PF HRS@0.1V V(selected NVM) (VLRS , ILRS) Fig. 2 Generic NVM model for SPICE, with switching between an ohmic LRS and an HRS exhibiting Poole-Frenkel conduction. Inset shows equivalent circuit for SPICE modeling of bipolar diode-type ADs. Total array power to write worst-case selected cell (Fig.1) must be estimated. MaSiM MIEC NPN Varistor Vm(V) Slope(mV/dec) 19 1.9 454 333 454, 333 1.54 85, 85 2.56 219, 430 2.4 416, 282 416, 282 Rs(kΩ) 3 17 3, 17 2.8, 2.8 80, 70 19, 14 19, 14 Threshold Switching ADs Vth (V), Ith (uA) CTS 1 67 6 2 1.67, 6.2 TVS 1.37, 0.87 Vh 1.41 1 41 0 Ron 1 1.8 Table. 2 Default Access Device Simulation parameters – among D-ADs, MIEC has the best turn-on slope and series resistance. Varistor and NPN have better voltage margin but slope and/or series resistance are also significantly higher and high voltages are required to drive high currents (Fig.3). 0.4 0.8 1.2 Partially (WL) Selected Cells Selected Cell VW VP<10nA VP>100nA!! 100nA 10nA 2.0 VAD 10uA 1uA 1.6 1/2Vm VR 1nA 100pA VUN 10 A 10pA VC 1pA VB Fig. 4 MIEC, Varistor operating points for selected, unselected and partially selected ADs under default NVM, circuit parameters. Large Varistor VAD causes increased total switching voltage VSW , thereby causing high partial select leakage. MIEC operating conditions are within manageable limits. Currrent I2+I1+INVM I1+INVM VK,IIK 100uA 10 A 10uA Fig. 7 Combining all unselect cells into a single aggregate Diode+NVM significantly reduces number of nodes, simplifying circuit analysis of large scale crossbar arrays. Partiallyy (BL) Sele ected Cellss Current Voltage[V] 0.0 V2,II2 INVM V1,II1 Vh R Ron Rint i t Vxpt + Vinner 1uA — 100nA V1,I1 Vth, Ith 10nA V2,II2 1nA 100pA 1pA 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 Voltage[V] Fig. 5 I–V characteristics of Threshold-switching ADs(T-ADs): Off-state current is modeled as a Poole-Frenkel characteristic. V th, Ith represents threshold switching condition of AD. Vh represents holding voltage after switching, RON is threshold device ON-state resistance. array to induce NVM switching (Fig.4, inset). AD operating points under default NVM, circuit parameters are marked on MIEC and Varistor DC IV curves in Fig.4. Threshold switching ADs (T-ADs, e.g. Threshold Vacuum Switch (TVS)  and Chalcogenide Threshold Switch (CTS) , Fig. 5) can ‘snapback’ to low holding voltage above a current threshold, thereby reducing VAD and VSW at NVM switching. This may seem an ‘unfair’ advantage for T-ADs over D-ADs, especially when Vh ∼0 (TVS). However, array design can still be constrained by total switching voltage, power to induce AD thresholding as opposed to NVM switching (Fig.6), and must be included in circuit Ixptt NVM SET Current NVM SET Current Threshold > AD Switching Threshold Fig. 8 A hybrid circuit-simulation/analytical approach for analysis crossbar array conditions – by iterating currents and voltages outwards from the selected cell, one can estimate the voltage/current/power conditions at the edge of the array to induce NVM switching. 100 Pow wer [[milli-W Watts] 10pA Iterative Method 10 1 SPICE Full Circuit Full Circuit 0.1 VHRS 1 2V VHRS = 1.2V 4Kb 16Kb 64Kb SPICE Reduced 256Kb 1Mb 4Mb Array Size Fig. 9 Power consumption vs. Array size for 1MIEC+1NVM crossbar arrays: plot shows near-identical correspondence between full-SPICE simulations and approximate methods described in Figs. 7 and 8 for 2 different NVM VHRS conditions. analysis. To evaluate ∼Mb arrays, number of circuit nodes is reduced by replacing all unselect cells by a single aggregate device (Fig.7). Given operating conditions at selected cell, iterating outwards can determine voltage/current/power at the edge of the array to induce switching (Fig. 8). Fig. 9 shows excellent agreement in power for 1MIEC+1NVM using iterative, reduced SPICE and full simulation. Design Space Exploration of ADs VXPT VXPT @SET @SET Start End VXPT to Switch AD Vxpt Fig. 6 Maximum voltage required at selected cell, and consequently worstcase power consumption in the array, can occur at the threshold condition of T-ADs (Fig. 5), as opposed to NVM switching conditions – illustrated in this diagram, with a representative T-AD IV and varying load lines representing instantaneous resistances of NVM. Write power poses the most stringent constraint for 1AD+1R designs . Design points become unfavorable if total array power far exceeds baseline power to switch AD+NVM. Fig. 10 plots a color map of total power for MIEC+NVM arrays when varying VHRS and array size. At favorable design points (blue) most of the applied power is consumed at the selected cell; at unfavorable 1.89Mb 30 1.57Mb 1.26Mb 5mW % Change in VHRS 784Kb 576Kb 6 b 400Kb 256Kb 56 b -50% 50% from nominal VHRS=1.2V -30% 30% -10% 10% +10% 10% +30% 30% 1mW Arra ay Size e 1Mb 256Kb MaSiM NPN 16Kb CTS 1.5 2 2.5 VHRS 3.0 [V] Fig. 11 Write power consumption contours at 1mW vs. NVM VHRS and array size demarcating favorable (left and down) and unfavorable (right and up) design points for D-ADs and T-ADs. MIEC ADs can support array sizes ≥1Mb at moderate switching voltages. The star marks MIEC + nominal NVM parameters. 64Kb 06 0.6 1.8 VHRS 2.0 [V] 50 40 Array Size = 256Kb VLRS=2/3×VHRS IHRS=0.1×ILRS 30 20 10 1 0.6 1 1.5 2 2.5 3.0 VHRS [V] Fig. 14 At constant array size (256Kb), NVM switching voltage supported trades-off against switching current. D-ADs follow their DC IV – linear segments are limited by series resistance: current trades-off in proportion to voltage, exponential segments indicate large increases in supported current for small reduction in voltage. 50 Array Size = 1Mb VLRS=2/3×VHRS IHRS=0.1×ILRS 40 30 20 10 CTS 1 06 0.6 16Kb 4Kb 1.6 than what they can support. Figs.14, 15 plot I vs. V design space for array sizes of 256Kb and 1Mb, assuming VLRS =2/3VHRS and ILRS =10×IHRS . DADs follow their device I-V (e.g. Varistor contour). In linear segments, D-ADs are limited by Rs – VAD trades off in proportion to VHRS ; exponential segments show diode action (large change in current for small change in voltage) which implies that lower NVM switching voltage is an extremely important design consideration. NPN follows a nearly linear contour, given high Rs . At lower ILRS , IHRS (10uA, 1uA - may be required for interconnect scaling), NPN ADs can support 256Kb arrays with a relatively high VHRS of 2.5V. Vm can be doubled by stacking two ADs in series; VHRS up to 2.5V, and array size of 1Mb can be supported by double MIEC (Fig.16). Stacking is not as effective on other D-ADs with poor S , Rs , since Vm benefits are offset by large increase in VAD . At ILRS ≤10uA, TVS is constrained by NVM switching whereas at higher currents, worst-case power occurs at Vth , Ith (Fig.17). If AD switching is orders of magnitude faster than NVM, instantaneous power for AD threshold can be ignored and TVS ADs can [uA]] 256Kb 1.4 Fig. 13 Increasing NVM non-linearity moderately improves voltage ranges supported by certain ADs since partial select leakage can be reduced. Yet, switching voltages ≥2V are not supported. NVM non-linearity also has no impact on ADs that were already unsustainable at 1Mb in Fig.12. ILLRS C Curren nt 1Mb 1.2 MIE EC A Array Size VLRS=2/3×VHRS 1.0 TVS S 16Mb 0.8 MIE EC points (red), partial select ADs allow significant sneak path currents that can dominate power consumption. Fig.11 shows 1mW power contours used to delineate favorable (left, down) vs. unfavorable (top, right) regions for all ADs. The graphs validate that AD suitability is coupled strongly to extrinsic parameters - MIEC ADs can support array sizes up to 2Mb at lowto-moderate switching voltages≤1.2V, whereas Varistor is better at VHRS ≥1.5V but only on much smaller arrays. No AD can support high NVM switching voltage and large array sizes at default current values. CTS can support only small arrays, since leakage is relatively high, even at low bias. Contour ‘plateaus’ indicate regions where array power is limited by constant VLRS ,ILRS . An extreme case is NPN, which shows no dependence on VHRS – high series resistance implies large VAD to deliver 30uA. Fig. 12 assumes VLRS scales as 2/3VHRS . Trends are similar, but MIEC can support larger array sizes (4Mb) at low switching voltage, as VAD reduces. Fig.13 shows that moderate increase in NVM voltage supported is achieved with LRS non-linearity for MIEC, TVS and Varistor. Other ADs do not appear since array size (1Mb) is larger 4Mb NPN, MaSiM, CTS 0.6 VLRS=0.8V 1 90 +50% 50% 4Mb 0.6 R@SETEnd/R@0.1V 70 Fig. 10 Colormap of write power vs. VHRS and array size for MIEC ADs from: blue regions represent favorable design points with power consumption dominated by selected cell switching, red regions represent unfavorable design points with extreme sneak path leakage through partial-select cells. 4Kb Array Size: 1Mb y 50 LRS Non‐Linearity= [uA]] 1Mb 64Kb 1 10 NV VM LR RS Non n-Line earity ≥10mW Array size ILLRS C Curren nt 2.25Mb 1 15 1.5 2 25 2.5 VHRS 30 3.0 [V] Fig. 12 Varying VHRS and VLRS simultaneously removes ‘plateau’ contours limited by constant VLRS assumption. Moderate expansion in supported design space observed for MIEC and Varistor. 1 15 1.5 2 25 2.5 VHRS 30 3.0 [V] Fig. 15 1mW contours for Write power showing range of Voltages and Currents supported for an array size of 1Mb. MIEC ADs can support large arrays at high currents and moderate switching voltage. NPN can support large switching voltage at extremely low currents. Array Size = 1Mb VLRS=2/3×VHRS IHRS 0 1×ILRS IHRS=0.1×ILRS 40 1mW Powe er [uA]] ILLRS C Curren nt 50 30 20 100uW 10 CTS 1 0.6 1 1.5 2 2.5 3.0 VHRS [V] ILLRS C Curren nt [uA]] Fig. 16 Voltage-current design space at 1Mb for a composite series stack of two diode-like ADs: Significant gains are seen for MIEC, with a doubling in NVM switching voltage supported at 1Mb array size. Diminished gains for other D-ADs, given doubling in already large slope and series resistance values. 50 40 30 Constrained only by NVM conditions if conditions if tAD << tNVM Constrained by AD transition 20 10 1 06 0.6 Constrained by NVM conditions 1 15 1.5 2 25 2.5 VHRS 30 3.0 [V] Fig. 17 At currents>10uA, power consumption of TVS+1R arrays is constrained by T-AD threshold point. If AD switching time is much less than NVM switching time, instantaneous power to switch AD can be ignored and larger NVM voltages (2V for 1Mb arrays) supported. support a much wider range of NVM V and I (2V at 1Mb in Fig.17). These gains are enabled by low Vh – negligible VAD implies VSW and consequently, power can be low. TVS design space can also be expanded if Ith can be reduced (thereby reducing NVM voltage at Ith ) while maintaining Vth (Fig.18). ADs were also compared against low-current, non-linear, ‘selfselect’ RRAM . While series AD increases VSW , this can be offset by improved leakage mitigation on partial select cells – e.g. in Fig.19 MIEC, NPN show >4× improved array size for the same power, CTS shows degradation and TVS has little impact. Conclusions 64Kb 256Kb 1Mb 4Mb 16Mb Array Size most suitable for larger switching voltages and low currents <5uA – MIEC, TVS, Varistor can support low-current/high voltage NVMs if supplemented by NVM non-linearity. Table 3 summarizes the design space. Table 4 identifies key parameters to be improved for the ADs studied. 256Kb Low V, All, Low I CTS<5uA 512Kb 1Mb 2Mb All, CTS<5uA All except CTS MIEC, NPN, Varistor (MaSiM, (MaSiM TVS@1uA) MIEC Low V, V TVS TVS, MIEC, MIEC TVS, MIEC TVS MIEC TVS, MIEC TVS MIEC High I Varistor Varistor High V, High V All@1uA, All@1uA All@1uA All@1uA, NPN<5uA, NPN@1uA, NPN<5uA NPN@1uA Low I NPN@5uA NPN@5uA others+ MIEC, non‐linear non linear Varistor non non‐ NVM linear NVM High V, High V, None High I None None None Table. 3 Design Space Summary Diode Type ADs Diode‐Type MaSiM MIEC NPN Varistor Voltage Margin, Slope Voltage Margin S ope, Se es es sta ce Slope, Series Resistance Slope Th h ld AD Threshold ADs 40 CTS TVS 20 0.1X 30 Low‐bias leakage, Ith Ith Table. 4 AD improvements to expand supported design space References 10 1 06 0.6 16Kb Fig. 19 Integrating D-ADs with low ON-current, high non-linearity NVMs  can enable ≥ 4× increase in array size vs. a selector-less array. TVS devices do not show any benefit with this NVM, as switching threshold of the AD is higher than the NVM. 50 0.2X 0 ILLRS C Curren nt [uA]] AD suitability was shown to be dependent upon AD, NVM and circuit parameters. MIEC ADs were shown to be the best choice for NVMs with low-to-moderate switching voltages. NPN ADs are 10uW 4Kb 1 15 1.5 2 25 2.5 VHRS 30 3.0 [V] Fig. 18 TVS design space can also be expanded if threshold current can be reduced while maintaining threshold voltage. This considerably reduces voltage across NVM at AD threshold, thereby reducing total crosspoint voltage needed (refer Fig.6).  K. Virwani et al., IEDM Tech. Digest, 2.7 (2012).  P. Narayanan et al., DRC, V.A-5 (2014).  L. Zhang et al., IEEE EDL, 35(2) 2014).  C-H. Ho et al. IEDM Tech. Digest, 2.8 (2012).  J. Woo et al. VLSI Tech. Digest, 12-4 (2013).  M-J. Lee et al. IEDM Tech. Digest, 2.6 (2012).  V.S.S. Srinivasan et al. IEEE EDL, 33(10) (2012).  S-G. Park et al., IEDM Tech. Digest, 20.8 (2012).  ITRS Interconnect Tables (2011).