Description: Sense amplifiers are important circuit components of a dynamic random access memory (DRAM), which forms the main memory of digital computers. The ability of the sense amplifier to detect and amplify voltage signals to correctly interpret data in DRAM cells cannot be understated. The sense amplifier plays a significant role in the overall speed of the DRAM. Sense amplifiers require matched transistors for optimal performance. Hence, the effects of mismatch through process variations must be minimized. This thesis presents a research which leads to optimal nanoscale CMOS sense amplifiers by incorporating the effects of process variation early in the design process. The effects of process variation on the performance of a standard voltage sense amplifier, which is used in conventional DRAMs, is studied. Parametric analysis is performed through circuit simulations to investigate which parameters have the most impact on the performance of the sense amplifier. The figures-of-merit (FoMs) used to characterize the circuit are the precharge time, power dissipation, sense delay and sense margin. Statistical analysis is also performed to study the impact of process variations on each FoM. By analyzing the results from the statistical study, a method is presented to select parameter values that minimize the effects of process variation. A design flow algorithm incorporating dual oxide and dual threshold voltage based techniques is used to optimize the FoMs for the sense amplifier. Experimental results prove that the proposed approach improves precharge time by 83.9%, sense delay by 80.2% sense margin by 61.9%, and power dissipation by 13.1%.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Okobiah, Oghenekarho
Item Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Partner: UNT Libraries