Globalfoundries Enters Joint-Development Agreement for High-Capacity Cache Technology

Globalfoundries to Enable Thyristor-RAM Embedded Memory on Advanced Process Technologies

by Anton Shilov
05/19/2009 | 06:38 PM

Globalfoundries, a joint-venture between Advanced Micro Devices and Advanced Technology Investment Company, on Tuesday said that it had agreed to work with T-RAM Semiconductor on Thyristor-RAM embedded memory technologies for advanced fabrication processes. The move will enable customers of Globalfoundries to enjoy the benefits of Thyristor-RAM for caches and other rapid memory blocks of their chips.

 

The joint development agreement is targeted at implementing T-RAM’s embedded memory technology into Globalfoundries’ manufacturing processes at the 32nm node and below. The technology can be used in bulk and SOI processes, which are both being developed by the company for advanced nodes.

“We are pleased to be jointly developing T-RAM memory for 32nm and 22nm technologies. T-RAM’s embedded memory technology shows a great deal of potential for use in low-power, high-performance dense cache applications for advanced technology nodes,” said Gregg Bartlett, senior vice president of technology and R&D at Globalfoundries.

The contract maker of chips said that the increase in density offered by T-RAM’s embedded memory has the potential to enable much larger on-chip cache memories.

Globalfoundries hopes that this technology can be used to enhance the performance and power-consumption of microprocessors and also shows promise for other applications, such as system-on-chip designs for netbooks, smartphones, and other mobile devices.

According to T-RAM Semiconductor, the Thyristor-RAM is similar to 6T-SRAM, but the use of thyristor provides a positive regenerative feedback that results in very large bitcell operation margins. The difference is that the four-transistor CMOS latch of a 6T-SRAM is replaced by the PNP-NPN bipolar latch of a single thyristor device, which reduces cell area and enables high-density memory pools. The thyristor latch is only activated during read/write operation to sense/change its stored charge and is kept off in standby, providing low-power operation.

Thyristor's PNP-NPN latch provides a positive regenerative feedback that result in a very large on/off current ratio of over six orders of magnitude and non-destructive read. These features enable a very large read margin (and yield), as well as excellent read speed. The company also claims that its proprietary thyristor device structure (known as TCCT) and associated write operation breaks through the slow turn-off barrier of conventional thyristors and enables very fast write operation in Thyristor-RAM

“We are excited about working with Globalfoundries on the next generation embedded memory technology. T-RAM has successfully completed extensive development of the Thyristor-RAM technology and has delivered a fully manufacturable and robust memory solution with proven yield, reliability, and low-cost of integration in earlier technology nodes,” said Sam Nakib, president and chief executive of T-RAM.

Other partners of T-RAM Semiconductor include Agilent Technologies, AMD, Cadence, Freescale and so on.