IEDM 2010
Conference paper

Device, circuit and system-level analysis of noise in multi-bit phase-change memory

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We present a comprehensive investigation of noise in multibit phase-change memory (PCM). The impact of noise on data integrity was quantified with a combination of experiments and simulations. A prototype chip was fabricated to support our system-level analysis, which shows that a raw bit error rate of ∼10-4 is achievable at 3-bit/cell. At the circuit level, we identified the bit line capacitance and the voltage regulator noise as the critical elements determining the electronic readout circuit noise. In addition, device-level measurements showed that 80% of the total noise can be traced back to the fluctuations in the PCM cell current itself. Our analysis captures for the first time how these fluctuations ultimately limit the achievable bit error rate in future multi-level-cell (MLC) PCM chips. ©2010 IEEE.