PatentDe  


Dokumentenidentifikation EP1502265 14.12.2006
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0001502265
Titel FERROELEKTRISCHER SPEICHER
Anmelder Symetrix Corp., Colorado Springs, Col., US;
Iota Technology, Inc., San Jose, Calif., US
Erfinder HO, Tom, Iu-Meng, Milpitas, CA 95035, US
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
DE-Aktenzeichen 60309461
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, BG, CH, CY, CZ, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, HU, IE, IT, LI, LU, MC, NL, PT, RO, SE, SI, SK, TR
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 05.05.2003
EP-Aktenzeichen 037220134
WO-Anmeldetag 05.05.2003
PCT-Aktenzeichen PCT/US03/14015
WO-Veröffentlichungsnummer 2003096352
WO-Veröffentlichungsdatum 20.11.2003
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 02.02.2005
EP date of grant 02.11.2006
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 14.12.2006
IPC-Hauptklasse G11C 11/22(2006.01)A, F, I, 20051017, B, H, EP

Beschreibung[en]
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates in general to ferroelectric memories and in particular to such memories that include memory cells including ferroelectric capacitors and arranged in rows and columns to form an array.

2. Statement of the Problem

It is well known that ferroelectric materials are capable of retaining a polarization which can be used to store information in a non-volatile memory. For example, if a strong enough electric field or voltage is placed across a ferroelectric capacitor, when the voltage is removed, a polarization in the direction of the field remains. If the field is then placed across the same capacitor in the opposite direction, the ferroelectric material switches, and when the field is removed, a polarization in the opposite direction remains. Electronic circuits have been designed to associate the polarization in one direction with a digital logic "1" state, and polarization in the opposite direction with a logic "0" state. See, for example, the circuits described in United States Patent No. 2,876,436 issued March 3, 1959 to J.R. Anderson. Like other integrated circuit memories, these circuits include memory cells arranged in rows and columns, each memory cell including at least one switch, a capacitor having a pair of electrodes, and the memory also including plate lines, sometimes referred to as drive lines, connected to one electrode of the capacitor in each cell, and bit lines connected to the other electrode of the capacitor through the switch. In this disclosure, we shall refer to the "plate" line as a "drive" line, as is sometimes done in the art. In the Anderson patent cited above, the switch is a diode. As known in the art, the switch can be a transistor having a gate, a source and a drain, and the memory includes word lines connected to the control gate of the transistor. See, for example, United States Patent No. 4,873,664 issued October 10, 1989 to S. Sheffield Eaton, Jr. The transistor acts as a switch controlled by its gate to connect the capacitor to the bit line. Information is written into a memory cell by placing either a high or a low voltage on the bit line, turning the transistor on to connect the bit line to the capacitor, and placing a predetermined voltage between the high and low voltage on the drive line. The high voltage causes the memory cell to assume one polarization state, and the low voltage causes the memory cell to assume the opposite polarization state. The memory cell is read by creating a voltage difference between the bit line and drive line, and connecting the bit line to the capacitor via the transistor. If the ferroelectric state changes due to the applied voltage, the bit line will assume a first voltage, and if the ferroelectric state does not switch, then the bit line will assume a second voltage. The bit line voltage is compared to a reference voltage that is about half-way between the first and second voltages; if the bit line voltage is below the reference voltage, a sense amp drives an output low, and if the bit line voltage is above the reference voltage, a sense amp drives an output high. In this way, the state of the ferroelectric capacitor prior to reading determines the output state when the cell is read.

In the above-described memory and other similar conventional ferroelectric memories, the drive line is pulsed. The drive line, being relatively long and connected to the electrodes of many capacitors, has a high capacitance. Thus, it takes a relatively long time for the voltage to rise to its full value, with the result that the time to read and write to the memory is long. To speed up the read and write processes, ferroelectric memories in which the drive line is not pulsed have been developed. See Hiroki Koike et al., "A 60-ns 1-Mb Nonvolatile Ferroelectric Memory With A Nondriven Cell Plate Line Write/Read Scheme, IEEE Journal of Solid State Circuits, Vol. 31, No. 11, November 1996. Another solution has been to make the drive line parallel to the bit line, so that only one capacitor at a time is pulsed. See the embodiment of FIG. 6 in the Eaton, Jr. patent mentioned above. Segmented drive lines have also been proposed to speed up the drive line cycle and reduce power. See United States Patent No. 5,598,366. However, all these memories have not been successful due to significant disturb problems. "Disturb" is a problematic feature of most prior art ferroelectric memories in which "disturb" voltages, usually small in amplitude, are unavoidably applied to non-accessed memory cells, which voltages can change the memory state and thus lead to erroneous readings. For example, in the Koike et al. reference, it is explained that leakage from the bit line and drive line to the nodes of a capacitor that is not accessed can destroy the data. This problem is overcome with a compensation scheme which adds complexity to the memory and slows it down. Thus, the disturb problem has either resulted in memories that have been made more complex and slower to overcome the disturb, as in the Koike et al. reference, or simply have resulted in the design being too unreliable to be successful, such as the Eaton, Jr. patent. Moreover, the average power requirements of such cells remains quite high.

Up until recently, all ferroelectric materials tended to fatigue over time, and the switching charge decreased to a point where the cell could no longer be read. About ten years ago, a class of materials, called layered superlattice compounds herein, have been discovered that do not fatigue. However, while the switching charge remains relatively stable in these materials, the materials still age, i.e., the magnitude of the first and second voltages generally depends on the history of the memory cell. For example, depending on the history, both the first and second voltages in one reading on a specific cell will differ by some voltage factor from the first and second voltages of a later reading of the same cell; or the hysteresis curve may drift over time in the order of milliseconds due to redistribution of charge within the capacitor. Thus, while the reference voltage will be between the first and second voltages for one reading, in a later reading both the first and second voltages may be above the reference voltage. This generally results in a misreading of the memory cell.. Thus, these memories are not "safe" in that the reading or sensing of the data is relatively unreliable.

A typical solution to the above problems is disclosed in United States Patent No. 4,888,733 issued December 19, 1989 to Kenneth J. Mobley. The memory disclosed in the Mobley patent isolates the ferroelectric capacitor with two transistors, which avoids the disturb problem. It also pulses the ferroelectric capacitor in one direction and stores the developed charge on a first temporary storage capacitor, pulses the ferroelectric capacitor in the opposite direction and stores the developed charge on a second temporary storage capacitor, and then compares the stored charges on the two storage capacitors. Thus, this memory essentially compares two states of the same capacitor taken one after another in a time interval that is too short for aging or other changes to take place, which avoids the aging problem. However, this solution triples the length of time it takes to read a memory; thus, this memory is not competitive with state-of-the-art memories which require fast read times. Further, the extra temporary storage capacitors are linear capacitors, which take up significant additional room in the memory, so a memory according to the Mobley design is relatively bulky and is not competitive in a memory market where memory chips are increasingly dense. There are many other multi-capacitor/multi-transistor ferroelectric memories that have been proposed to solve the above problems, some of which have been incorporated into commercial products. All of them are both several times more dense and slower than conventional DRAMs.

The above problems, particularly the aging problem and the "disturb" problem, are most severe in the fastest and densest memory architectures. Thus, commercial applications of ferroelectric memories up to now have been limited to relatively slow and bulky architectures, such as the Mobley design. It would be highly desirable to have a ferroelectric memory architecture that was faster and less bulky than the Mobley design, yet was not subject to the problem of disturb. Such a memory design that also avoided the aging problem would be a significant advance in the art.

SOLUTION

The invention solves the above problems, as well as other problems of the prior art by providing a ferroelectric memory in which each memory cell can be individually selected without electrically connecting it to any other memory cell, thus eliminating any possibility of disturb.

The invention also provides a memory cell in which the ferroelectric elements are capacitors, which memory cell can be read without switching the ferroelectric capacitors.

The invention also provides a ferroelectric memory having a novel bit line driver which drives the bit line to a voltage of a volt or less, and preferably less than half a volt.

The invention also provides a ferroelectric memory having a novel sense amplifier which sense amplifier includes three bit line inputs, two of which are inputs from dummy bit lines.

The invention also provides a ferroelectric memory in which the bit lines are partitioned.

The invention provides a ferroelectric, non-volatile memory comprising: a plurality of pairs of parallel bit lines, a plurality of drive lines parallel to the bit lines, a word line perpendicular to the bit line pairs and the drive lines, and a plurality of memory cells, each memory cell associated with one of the pairs of bit lines and one of the drive lines, each memory cell comprising: a first ferroelectric capacitor having a first electrode and a second electrode, a second ferroelectric capacitor having a first electrode and a-second electrode, a first transistor having a gate, and a second transistor having a gate; wherein in each memory cell the first transistor is connected between the first electrode of the first capacitor and one of the bit lines in the associated bit line pair, the second transistor is connected between the first electrode of the second capacitor and the other of the bit lines in the associated bit line pair, and the gates of the first transistor and the second transistor are connected to the word line, the memory further including a drive line transistor associated with each of the drive lines, the drive line transistor including a gate, each of the drive lines connected to the second electrode of the first and second ferroelectric capacitors of the memory cell associated with the drive line via the drive line transistor, each of the drive lines connected to two or less of the memory cells and wherein the gate of the drive line transistor is connected to the word line. Preferably, the memory cells are arranged in rows parallel to said word lines and columns parallel to said bit and drive lines and is each of the drive lines connected to the second electrode of the first capacitor and the second electrode of the second capacitor in only one of the memory cells in a row of memory cells. Preferably, there is one of the drive lines associated with each of the cells, and the drive line is located between the bit lines in the bit line pair associated with the cell with which the drive line is associated. Preferably, the memory cells are arranged in rows parallel to the word lines and columns parallel to the bit and drive lines and each of the drive lines is connected to the second electrode of the first capacitor and the second electrode of the second capacitor in the two of the memory cells in a row of memory cells. Preferably, the drive line is located between the two cells. Preferably, the bit lines are complementary and each of the memory cells is a one-bit memory cell. Preferably, one of the capacitors is a dummy ferroelectric capacitor and the bit line connected to the dummy ferroelectric capacitor is a dummy bit line. Preferably, the bit lines are top level bit lines and there are a plurality of memory cells divided into a first group and a second group, the memory further including a first group select transistor having a gate, a second group select transistor having a gate, a first group select line, a second group select line, a first second level bit line, and a second second level bit line, and wherein the first group select transistor is connected between the top level bit line and the first second level bit line, the second group select transistor is connected between the top level bit line and the second level bit line, the first group select line is connected to the gate of the first group select transistor, and the second group select line is connected to the gate of the second group select transistor. Preferably, the memory further includes a bit line driver circuit for driving the bit line to a voltage that is one-third or less of the high voltage of the memory. Preferably, each of the memory cells is a two-bit memory cell. Preferably, one of the capacitors is a dummy ferroelectric capacitor and the bit line connected to the dummy ferroelectric capacitor is a dummy bit line.

The invention for the first time provides a ferroelectric, non-volatile memory which is competitive with DRAMS and SRAMS with respect to speed, reliability, and density. Numerous other features, objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

  • FIG. 1 is an electrical circuit diagram of a memory cell having three transistors and two capacitors according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a circuit diagram illustrating two embodiments of a memory cell array according to the invention;
  • FIG. 3 is an electrical circuit diagram showing In detail a dummy memory cell according to the invention;
  • FIG. 4 is a circuit diagram showing the connections to the sense amplifier in one preferred embodiment of the invention;
  • FIG. 5 is a circuit diagram showing the connections to the sense amplifier in another preferred embodiment of the invention;
  • FIG. 6 shows an exemplary embodiment of a memory in which the invention is incorporated;
  • FIG. 7 is an electrical circuit diagram of an alternative preferred embodiment of a memory cell according to the invention;
  • FIG. 8 is an electrical circuit diagram of an alternative preferred embodiment of a dummy memory cell according to the invention;
  • FIG. 9 is an electrical circuit diagram illustrating two embodiments of a bit line driver circuit for the read function according to a preferred embodiment of the invention;
  • FIG. 10 is a timing diagram for the circuit of FIG. 9; FIG. 11 shows an exemplary hysteresis curve for a ferroelectric material illustrating features of the preferred embodiment of the read function according to the invention;
  • FIG. 12 is a portion of a partioned memory cell array according to a preferred embodiment of the invention;
  • FIG. 13 is an electrical circuit diagram of an alternative preferred embodiment of a portion of a memory array having a two-bit 4C/5T memory cell;
  • FIG. 14 is an electrical circuit diagram of another alternative preferred embodiment of a portion of a memory array that is the same as the array of FIG. 21 except that the drive line is located between the bit line pairs;
  • FIG. 15 is an electrical circuit diagram of another alternative preferred embodiment of a portion of a memory array similar to that of FIG. 21 except it includes a dummy bit line and capacitor; and
  • FIG. 16 is an electrical circuit diagram illustrating a preferred embodiment of the sense amplifier of FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Briefly directing attention to FIG. 6, a memory 436 according to the invention is shown. A memory address is applied on inputs 438, decoded in Control Logic 480 Decoder 441 and Multiplexer 478 to address a particular memory cell in array 445 as indicated in the address. Signals corresponding to incoming data on line 435 are applied to the addressed cell via IO Transceiver 479 and Multiplexer 478 to write to the cell, and Sense Amplifier and IO Transceiver 479 senses output data from the addressed cell and outputs it on line 435. Signal generator 480 generates certain timing signals to operate the memory and applies them to Decoder 441 Sense Amplifiers and IO Transceiver 479 and Multiplexer 478. The invention relates to novel structures of memory cells and dummy cells in array 445 as shown in FIGS. 1 - 3, 7 and 8, sense amplifier structures as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, a bit line driver shown in FIG. 9, and an array structure shown in FIG 12, which individually and in combination result in a dense, fast, reliable, and energy efficient memory a timing diagram for the circuit of FIG. 9 is illustrated in FIG. 10 and a hysteresis curve in FIG. 11.

Herein, a "voltage line" generally corresponds to a bit line, a word line, a drive line or other voltage source, or voltage sink; the term "trinion cell" generally corresponds to a memory cell having three transistors and two capacitors, or otherwise stated, a 3T/2C cell configuration. Herein, the term "source/drain" path, as applied to a transistor, refers to the conductive path through a field effect transistor (FET), other type of transistor, or other switching device which path may be either conductive or non-conductive depending upon the state of a gate or other switching device control mechanism. Herein, when discussing direction In the context of a cross-sectional view of a wafer, the silicon layer is generally at the "bottom" and a metal layer generally at the "top" of such diagrams. Thus, a reference to a first component being placed "above" a second component generally corresponds to the second component being closer to the silicon layer than the first component. Accordingly, the "upward" direction corresponds to a direction which leads from the silicon layer toward the metal layer.

FIG. 1 is an electrical circuit diagram of a memory cell 100 according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. Memory cell 100 includes a first ferroelectric capacitor 106, a second ferroelectric capacitor 108, and transistors 105, 107, and 109. Cell 100 is connected within an array 445 (FIG. 6) via word line 101, a bit line pair comprising bit lines 102 and 104, and drive line 103. The gates 123, 128, and 136 of transistors 105, 107 and 109, respectively, are connected to word line 101. One source/drain of transistor 105 is connected to bit line 102 at node 113, and the other source/drain of transistor 105 is connected to first or lower electrode 126 of capacitor 106. The second or upper electrode 125 of capacitor 106 is connected to node 110, which is also connected to one source/drain 127 of transistor 107 and the second or upper electrode 133 of capacitor 108. The other source/drain 129 of transistor 107 is connected to drive line 103 at node 111. The first or lower electrode 134 of capacitor 108 is connected to one source/drain of transistor 109, and the other source/drain 138 of transistor 109 is connected to bit line 104 at node 112. We shall refer to transistor 107 as the "drive line transistor". In this disclosure, this transistor is part of cell 100.

One distinctive aspect of the preferred embodiment memory cell 100 of FIG. 1 is that bit lines 102 and 104 run parallel to drive line 103, and all of the foregoing are arranged perpendicularly to word line 101. This arrangement preferably enables individual cells to be selected by activating a combination of a word line and a drive line uniquely associated with a particular cell. Such selectivity reduces the power requirement associated with activating an entire column or row of cells when only one cell is of interest. Moreover, selecting only a single cell in this manner prevents undesired disturb voltages from reaching non-selected cells. The foregoing is desirable because such disturb voltages may, over time, cause undesired changes in the polarization of the non-selected memory cells. It will be appreciated that alternative relative orientations of the word lines, bit lines, and drive lines may be employed while employing the inventive technology disclosed herein, and all such variations are included within the scope of the present invention.

In a preferred embodiment, the trinion cell depicted in FIG. 1 includes two ferroelectric capacitors and three transistors. The three transistors, identified by reference characters 105, 107, and 109, are preferably N-channel transistors, but may alternatively be P-channel transistors, P and N transmission gates, bipolar transistors, other current switching devices, or a mixture of the available transistors. Ferroelectric capacitors 106 and 108 may include one or more of a range of ferroelectric materials, including but not limited to PZT (lead zirconate titanate) and layered superlattice materials. Layered superlattice materials are discussed in commonly assigned U.S. Patent No. 5,519,234, issued May 21, 1996, entitled "Ferroelectric Dielectric Memory Cell Can Switch At Least Giga Cycles And Has Low Fatigue - Has High Dielectric Constant And Low Leakage Current," the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

An advantage of a preferred embodiment of the trinion cell is that both the upper and lower electrodes of both capacitors 106 and 108 are isolated from their respective bit lines and/or drive lines by at least one transistor, thereby affording superior electrical isolation when these transistors are switched off than that available in the prior art. In a preferred embodiment, the transistors which operate to selectively isolate capacitors 106 and 108 from their respective bit line and drive line connections are coupled to a single word line 101. In this manner, turning off word line 101 preferably operates to turn off all three transistors 105, 107, and 109, thereby fully isolating both electrodes of both capacitors 106 and 108 from voltage disturbance from bit lines 102 and 104 and drive line 103 and from noise due to potential noise sources connected to these voltage lines. Although the above discussion is directed to a circuit having a configuration enabling full isolation of capacitors from all noise sources by switching a single word line, it will be appreciated that alternative embodiments may employ more than one word line in order to achieve the desired capacitor electrical isolation, and all such variations are intended to be included within the scope of the present invention.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the 3T/2C cell, or trinion cell, may be employed to store a single data bit by storing complementary data on bit lines 102 and 104. Herein, this approach is referred to as the one-bit storage mode. Alternatively, two data bits may be stored in the inventive memory cell by storing independent data on bit lines 102 and 104. The two-bit data storage option is discussed at greater length below. Herein, this second approach is referred to as the two-bit storage mode.

Where the 3T/2C memory cell is employed in the one-bit storage mode, a high level of noise immunity is preferably provided. Moreover, the use of a common drive line or DL line 103 in contact with the upper electrodes of the two capacitors 106 and 108 preferably provides well-balanced voltage pulses to the two capacitors 106, 108, thereby beneficially minimizing mismatches in voltage and current conditions at the upper electrodes of the two capacitors.

In a preferred embodiment, the deployment of a common drive line 103 for the two separate capacitors 106, 108 in combination with the deployment of -transistor 107, which is disposed between drive line 103 and the second or upper electrodes of capacitors 106, 108, operates to reduce capacitive loading on drive line 103. It may be seen that when word line 101 is powered down, transistor 107 will effect an open circuit between drive line 103 and the second or upper electrodes of capacitors 106 and 108, thereby preventing capacitors 106 and 108 from capacitively loading drive line 103. This reduction in capacitive loading preferably operates to enable drive line 103 to be switched in less time and employing less energy than when capacitive loading is present. Moreover, appropriate switching of transistor 107 under control of word line 101 preferably operates to prevent disturbance or "disturb" voltages along drive line 103 from affecting the second or upper electrodes of capacitors 106 and 108.

In addition to the electrical isolation benefits discussed above, the placement of drive line 103 between bit lines 102 and 104 in a preferred embodiment of the inventive memory cell preferably operates to equalize mutual capacitive coupling between the two bit lines 102 and 104.

As previously mentioned, the 3T/2C or trinion cell may also be used in a two-bit storage mode. In this case, bit lines 102 and 104 preferably contain independent data bits. Operating in this mode, the inventive memory cell would provide a data storage density, measured in storage bits divided by the number of transistors per cell, substantially superior to that available in the prior art. Specifically, in the two-bit storage mode of the present invention, two data bits may be stored in a cell having three transistors. In contrast, only one bit is generally stored in a traditional 2T/2C memory cell. Thus, a preferred embodiment memory cell of the present invention stores 1 bit per 1.5 transistors, whereas the prior art 2T/2C memory cell stores 1 bit per 2.0 transistors. This increase in data storage density preferably operates to enable still further size reduction of memory circuits employing the inventive technology disclosed herein.

In a preferred embodiment, the deployment of a common drive line 103 between bit lines 102 and 104 generates balanced electrical impulses to the second or upper electrodes 126, 134 of capacitors 106 and 108. This electrical balance preferably operates to reduce signal mismatch and to enhance the operation of sense amplifiers (FIGS. 5 and 6) used with dummy reference cells (FIGS. 2 and 3). As with the one-bit storage case, the use of common drive line 103 in conjunction with transistor 107 preferably operates to reduce capacitive loading on drive line 103.

FIG. 2 illustrates a memory array 200, 240 according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. FIG.2 illustrates both an array 200 according to the one-bit storage mode embodiment, and an array 240 according to the two-bit storage mode embodiment Array 200 includes a plurality of columns 248, 249, etc, and a plurality of rows 252, 253, etc., of memory cells, with a total of (N+1) x M cells where N+1 is the number of columns in array 200, and M is the number of rows in the array. The dotted lines 243 represent additional rows required to complete the array, and the dotted lines 244 indicate the additional columns to compete the array. Array 200 includes cells 100, and 202 - 206 as well as cells indicated by the dotted lines 243 and 244. Array 240 includes all the cells in array 200 plus a column 250 of dummy cells, including dummy cells 220, 221, and the additional cells indicated by dotted line 245. Preferably, the placement of common drive line 227 between bit lines 226 and 228 operates to reduce mutual capacitive coupling between the bit lines.

An exemplary dummy cell is shown in FIG. 3. This cell has the same structure as memory cell 100 of FIG. 1, including three transistors 310, 312, and 314, two ferroelectric capacitors 311 and 313, which are connected as described above, and which are connected into array 240 by word line 209, dummy bit lines 226 and 228, and dummy drive line 227, as described above for the corresponding elements of FIG. 1. The fact that there are two dummy bit lines 226 and 228 and two dummy ferroelectric capacitors 311 and 313 is an important feature of the invention. Dummy cell 220 operates in complementary mode: the ferroelectric states stored In capacitors 311 and 313, as well as the signals applied to bit lines 226 and 228, are complementary. That is, when the state of capacitor 311 is a logic "1", the state of capacitor 313 is a logic "0", and vice versa.

Returning to FIG. 2, it will be appreciated that the components and electrical connections of each of cells 100, 202 - 206, as well as the other cells of array 200 not explicitly shown, generally correspond to those of memory cell 100 depicted in FIG. 1, while the components and circuitry of each of the dummy cells in column 250 generally correspond to that of dummy cell 220 shown in FIG. 3. However, for the sake of simplicity, the internal detail of each of the cells is omitted in FIG. 2.

In a preferred embodiment, word lines 209, 210 and the other word lines extend through arrays 200 and 240, each word line corresponding to a row of cells. Similarly, bit lines 102 and 104, and drive line 103, as well as the other bit and drive lines, extend through array 200 and, in the one-bit embodiment in which the bit lines are complementary, each complementary pair of bit lines and the corresponding drive line correspond to a column of cells.

In a preferred embodiment, for a cell to be selected, the word line and drive line coinciding at this cell would both have to be activated. For example, where word line 210 and drive line 103 are both active, cell 203 is activated. With the stated combination of active drive and word lines, cell 100 would preferably have an active drive line, but the absence of an active word line would prevent any voltage from reaching the electrodes of the capacitors in cell 100. In cell 204, the word line would be active, thus coupling the upper electrodes of the capacitors to drive line 207. However, drive line 207 would not be active, thereby preventing any disturbance of the polarization of the capacitors of cell 204.

In the prior art, the existence of disturb voltages would have prevented the use of multiple dummy lines because of the destructive effect of disturb voltages which would be present at one or more of the electrodes of a capacitor. However, in a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the deployment of transistors or other switching devices between both electrodes of the capacitors within each dummy cell and all sources of disturb voltages preferably operates to protect the capacitors against such disturb voltages, thereby enabling greater flexibility and compactness in memory circuit design without disturbing the polarization of the various capacitors in the memory cell.

In the embodiment of FIG. 2, N is an integer and may equal zero. That is, there may be one dummy cell for each active cell. Preferably, N equals 3, 7, 15, or some other multiple of 2N-1. As known in the art, there may be many more rows above and/or below the rows shown, and many more columns, including both additional columns of active cells and additional columns of dummy cells. One advantage of the invention is that many more rows of cells may be used than in prior art memories, without significantly slowing the memory. That is because all cells in a column except the cell being addressed are disconnected from the drive line, and thus their capacitance does not add to the capacitance of the drive line. Since, in prior ferroelectric memories, the capacitance of one memory cell capacitor is of the order of the capacitance of the drive line, when the memory cell according to the invention is combined with any prior art design, the length of the column can be extended by a factor approximately equal to the number of cells in a column of the prior art design. For example, if the prior art design was limited to eight rows, with the cell of the present invention, the design can use 64 rows and still have approximately the same speed.

FIG. 4 illustrates the connection of a sense amplifier 402 into the array of FIG. 2 and the memory of FIG. 6 in the one-bit per cell mode, and FIG. 5 illustrates the connection of a sense amplifier 502 into the array of FIG. 2 and the memory of FIG. 6 in the two-bit embodiment. The design of sense amplifiers, such as 402, are well-known in the art and thus will not be described in detail. Sense amplifier 502, particularly the feature of how its reference signals on lines 516 and 518 are derived from dummy cell 220, is novel. Bit lines 406 and 408 in FIG. 4 represent a bit line pair, such as bit lines 102 and 104. In this embodiment, the bit lines correspond to opposite logic states. The bit lines are connected to the two sides of sense amplifier 402 as known in the art. A sense amplifier enable signal, SEN, carried by sense enable line 412 is applied to sense amp 402 via input 413. Sense enable line 412 is one of the lines making up signal lines 485 connected to signal generator 480 (FIG. 6). Data is output from sense amplifier 402 on data line 414 which is multiplexed to data output 435 (FIG. 6) as known in the art.

In FIG. 5, bit line 506 corresponds to any of bit lines 102, 104, etc. In this embodiment, sense amplifier 502 includes three bit line inputs, 516. 518, and 519. One bit line input 519 is connected to bit line 506. Bit line input 516 is connected to dummy bit line 226, and bit line input 518 is connected to dummy line 228. Within sense amplifier 502, the signals from the two dummy lines 226 and 228 are combined to yield a single reference signal on reference line 520, which reference signal is halfway between the signal DM0 and DM1. The connection of sense input 513, sense line 512, and data line 514 into memory 436 of FIG. 6 is as just described for the sense amplifier of FIG. 4.

FIG. 24 is an electrical circuit diagram illustrating a preferred embodiment of the sense amplifier of FIG. 5. FIG. 24 shows drivers 530, 533 and 531, which provide sense enable signals and sense amplifier 502. Driver 533 is optional and therefore is shown in ghost. Sense amplifier 502 includes N-channel transistors 541, 542, 543, 544, and 545, and P-channel transistors 551, 552, 553, 554, 555, and 556. The P-channel transistors may also be N-channel transistors with inverted gates. The bit line input 519 with signal BL is connected to the gates of transistors 553 and 554. The dummy bit line with signal DMO is connected to the gate of transistor 555 and the dummy bit line with signal DM1 is connected to the gate of transistor 556. The output of driver 530 is connected to the gate of transistors 541, 542 and 545 and the inputs of drivers 531 and 533. The output of drivers 533 and 531 are connected to the node 560 which connects to one source/drain of transistors 553, 554, 555, and 556. One source/drain of each of transistors 541 through 544 is connected to ground, such as at 560. The other source/drain of transistor 541 is connected to the node 562 connecting transistors 551 and 542 and to the gates of transistors 552 and 543. One source/drain of transistor 545 is connected to one source/drain of transistors 555, 556, and 552 and. The other source/drain of transistor 544 is connected to 544 is connected to the node 563 connecting transistors 552 and 543 and to the gates of transistors 551 and 542 and the other source/drain of transistor 545 is connected to one source/drain of transistors 554, 555, and 551.

The sense amplifier 502 operates as follows. When the sense enable signal is provided on line 513, transistors 541 and 544 tum on to connect nodes 562 and 563 to ground. At the same time, driver(s) 531, 533 apply a high signal to node 560. Driver 531 provides a high signal with a relatively long period that provides sufficient time for the signal on node 560 to stabilize. Driver 533 provides a relatively fast pulse that increases the speed of node 560 going high. It is preferably used for applications that require a high operational speed. If the signal BL is higher than the combined signals DM0 and DM1, transistors 553 and 554 will turn on more than transistors 555 and 556 and node 521 will be pulled high faster. On the other hand, if the combined signals DMO and DM1 -are higher than the signal BL, then node 520 will be pulled high faster. The circuit 503 including transistors 551, 552, 542, and 543 then acts like a conventional sense amplifier to pull the combined signals on nodes 521 and 520 to the rails. That is, if the signal on node 521 is higher than the signal on node 520, then node 521 and data line 514 is pulled high and node 520 is pulled low, and if the signal on node 521 is lower than the combined signals on nodes 521 and 520, data line 521 is pulled low.

As known in the art, a separate sense amplifier 402 may be connected to each complementary pair of bit lines, or one sense amplifier may be utilized by many pairs of bit lines using transistors operated by signals from signal generator 480 (FIG. 6), via a multiplexer circuit, or in some other manner. Similarly, a separate sense amplifier 502 may be connected between the dummy bit lines and each of the other bit lines, or one sense amplifier may be utilized with a plurality of bit lines.

It is a feature of the invention that the dummy cells, such as 220, are driven such that the capacitors 311 and 314 are in opposite logic states. However, the specific logic states alternate, which may be every cycle, but preferably the states are changed less often, for example, every ten, twenty-five or one hundred cycles, depending on the ferroelectric material. That is, if capacitor 311 is in a logic "0" state and capacitor 314 is in a logic "1" state for one cycle series, in the next series of cycles capacitor 311 is placed in a logic "1" state and capacitor 314 is placed in a logic "0" state. This prevents the capacitors from imprinting and/or fatiguing, and improves the matching of the dummy cell tremendously.

FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary integrated circuit memory 436 in which memory portion 100 is a part, and in which memory arrays, such as 200 and 240, according to the invention are utilized. For simplicity, the embodiment shown is for a 16K X 1 FeRAM; however, the invention may be utilized in a wide variety of sizes and types of memories, including, but not limited to, those in which the addresses are not multiplexed, such as flash or SRAM type memories. In the 16K embodiment shown, there are seven address input lines 438 which connect through Control Logic section 480 and lines 439 to the X decode section 441. X decoder 441 is connected to a 128 X 128 memory cell array 445 via 128 lines 446, which comprise the word lines, such as 252 and 253 (FIG. 2), and the group select lines 940 and 942 (FIG. 20). Three other address lines 438 are decoded via Control Logic 480 to generate 8 Y select lines 486 to drive Y multiplexer 478, which drives the bit and drive lines 447, such as 102 - 104 and 226 - 228 (FIGS. 2 and 3). Control Logic signal generator 480 is connected to the sense amplifier and data-out multiplexer circuit 479 via lines 485. These lines provide the SEN signal discussed in connection with FIG. 4, the CH and GR SEL signals discussed below in connection with FIGS. 17, 18 and 20, as well as other signals. The number of lines 446, 447, 485 and 486 depends on which embodiment of the invention discussed herein is utilized, as well as the size of the array. DATA bus 435 is a bi-directional sixteen bit bus connected to the sense amplifier and data-out multiplexer 479 and providing a sixteen bit data input into the memory. The embodiment of the memory cell array 445 shown contains 128 x 128 = 16,384 memory cells, which is conventionally designated as 16K. These cells are ferroelectric switching capacitor-based cells such as 100.

The operation of the memory in FIG. 6 is as follows. X Decoder signals A0 through As and Y Decoder signals A7 through A9 are latched, buffered, and decoded y Control Logic 480 and passed to X decoder 441 and two-way Y multiplexer 478, respectively. X decoder 441 decodes the address signals and places the word line signals, such as the WLO and WL1 signals discussed above, on one of word lines 446; generally a signal is placed on the word line of the cell that is addressed. As mentioned above, the Sense Amplifiers and IO Transceiver circuit 479 includes sense amplifiers, such as 402 and 502 (FIGS. 4 and 5) which are located along lines 447 to sense and amplify the signals on the selected lines, and the IO transceiver in circuit 479 drives and receives data from data line 435.

The various components of memory 436 in FIG. 6 are shown only as an exemplary embodiment to illustrate how the invention is used. However, there are literally hundreds of memory designs in which the invention may be used, and different designs place the various components in different locations, may not use some ot the components, or may use other components. For example, in different memory designs, the sense amplifiers are placed at the midpoint of lines 447, at the same end as the line drivers, or some other place in the circuit. In some memories, signal generator 480 and X decoder and word line driver circuit may be combined into a single-signal generation unit. The circuitry of the various components of memory 436, except as discussed elsewhere herein, is known in the art of integrated circuit memory design, and will not be further discussed herein. Other logic required or useful to carry out the functions outlined above, as well as other known memory functions, is also included in memory 436 but is not shown or discussed, as it is not directly applicable to the invention.

FIG. 7 is an electrical schematic diagram of an alternative memory cell 700 according to the invention. This structure includes four transistors 711, 713, 714, and 716 and two ferroelectric capacitors 712 and 715. Transistors 711, 713 and capacitor 712 are connected to bit line 706 and drive line 707 in the same way as transistors 105 and 107 and capacitor 106 are connected to word line 101, bit line 102 and drive line 103 (FIG. 1), and transistors 714 and 716 and capacitor 715 are connected to word line 701, bit line 709, and drive line 708 in the same was as transistors 107 and 109 and capacitor 108 are connected to word line 101, bit line 104, and drive line 103. The only difference is that there are two drive lines 707 and 708 instead of one. Again, cell 700 can be programmed as a single bit cell with capacitors 712 and 715 in complementary states, or as a two-bit cell. This structure, like the structure of cell 100 of FIG. 1, is excellent in a high noise environment, such as embedded memory, since the ferroelectric capacitors 712, 715 are completely isolated except when they are being addressed. However, as will be seen in more detail below, the write cycle is approximately half of the write cycle of cell 100; thus, a memory with a cell 700 is extremely fast.

FIG. 8 shows a dummy cell 800 in which transistors 811, 813, 814, and 816 and capacitors 812 and 815 are connected to bit lines 806 and 809, word line 801, and drive lines 807 and 808 just as the corresponding transistors and capacitors are connected in cell 700. In this structure, dummy lines 807 and 808 always have complementary signals, as do bit lines 806 and 809.

Sense amplifiers 402 (FIG. 4) and 502 (FIG. 5) are preferably used with the one-bit embodiment of cell 700 and the two-bit embodiment of cell 700 as described above for cell 100 of FIG. 1.

Turning now to FIG. 9, two embodiments of a bit line drive circuit 900 is shown that provides the small charge for the read methods of FIGS. 15 and 16. Drive circuit 900 includes two transistors 902 and 904 and a capacitor 906. Transistor 902 has an inverted gate. Transistor 902 may also be a P-channel transistor while transistor 904 is an N-channel transistor. Capacitor 906 may be a ferroelectric capacitor or a conventional linear capacitor. The inverted gate of transistor 902 is connected to "charge" line 908. One source/drain of transistor 902 is connected to Vdd, while the other source drain is connected to electrode 915 of capacitor 906, which is preferably the lower electrode. In one embodiment, the other electrode 916 of capacitor 906 is connected to ground 914 via line 921. The second embodiment includes a buffer amplifier 917. In the second embodiment, the input of buffer 917 is connected to charge line 908 and the output is connected to electrode 916. Node 911 between transistor 902 and electrode 915 is also connected to bit line 907 through transistor 904, the gate of which is connected to charge line 908. P channel transistor 902 can be replaced with a P/NB transmission gate or any gating element which will turn ON when CH is low. Likewise, the N channel transistor 904 can also be replaced with a P/N transmission gate or any gating element which will turn ON when CH is high.

A timing diagram 920 showing the operation of bit line driver 900 is shown in FIG. 10. At the start of a cycle, the CH signal on the charge line is low, which means that transistor 902 is on and transistor 904 is off. Thus, electrode 915 is pulled high, and the LE signal, which represents the voltage state of this electrode, is high. Then the CH signal on the charge line goes high, which turns off transistor 902 and turns on transistor 904, which permits the positive charge on electrode 915 to be dumped onto bit line 907, causing the voltage BL on the bit line to rise a small amount. The capacitance of capacitor 906 is carefully selected and matched with the capacitance of bit line 907 so that the rise in voltage on the bit line is enough to drive the read operation, but not enough to significantly disturb the ferroelectric capacitor of the memory cell connected to the bit line. Preferably, with the current state of the art of ferroelectric capacitors and memory cell technology, capacitor 915 is selected so that the voltage the bit line rises to is one-third or less of the high voltage source of the memory, i.e., the Vdd voltage. More preferably, it is one-fourth or less of the memory high voltage. However, as discussed in connection with FIG. 19, it has been found that the system works well even with voltages as high as 1.5 volts and 2 volts, which in state-of-the-art ferroelectric memories can be as much as two-thirds or three-fourths of the memory high voltage. The operation of the embodiment with the buffer amplifier 917 is the same, except that when charge line 908 goes high, the buffer 917 turns on and drives the upper electrode 916 high which dumps twice as much charge onto bit line 907.

FIG. 11 is a ferroelectric hysteresis curve 925 plotting polarizability P of a ferroelectric capacitor, such as 106, versus voltage. Such hysteresis curves are well known in the art, so how it is generated need not be discussed here. The "Y-axis" represents the charge Q on the capacitor, while the "X-axis" represents the voltage, V. At zero volts, a ferroelectric capacitor in the logic "1" state is at point A on hysteresis curve 925, while a ferroelectric capacitor in the logic "0" state is at point C. When the 0.4 volts is placed on the capacitor, the ferroelectric capacitor in the logic "1" state rises along the hysteresis curve to point B, while the ferroelectric capacitor in the logic "0" state rises to point D. Because the hysteresis curve is steeper from C to D than from A to B, the capacitor in the logic "0" state absorbs more polarization charge. Thus, the final voltage state of the bit line is lower than for the capacitor in the logic "1" state. The key fact to note from curve 925 is that the hysteresis curve is steeper for the state which would switch if the voltage applied to the capacitor was in the same direction, but larger than the coercive voltage. This is true whichever the polarization state the capacitor is in. Thus, the bit line that is lower in an SDRO cycle is also the bit line that is lower in an SNDRO cycle.

FIG. 11 illustrates how the different steepness of the hysteresis curve leads to a robust sensing scheme. If a small charge is applied to the ferroelectric capacitor, there will be a large difference in the voltage generated on the capacitor depending on whether the capacitor is in the "logic 1" state or the "logic 0" state. The voltage developed if the capacitor is in the state "A" will be much larger than the voltage developed if the capacitor is in the state "C". The voltage developed will not be enough to change the state of the ferroelectric capacitor but the voltage difference can be easily sensed by stat-of-the-art sense amplifiers. After sensing, the charge can be quickly removed. A write back operation may optionally be used if an extremely robust system is desired, depending on design requirements. Alternatively, if a pulse with a voltage V1 is applied to one side of a ferroelectric capacitor, which charge is small enough that it does not change the state of the ferroelectric capacitor, the ferroelectric capacitor will dump a charge on the bit line. The difference between the charge dumped in the "logic 1" state and the charge dumped in the "logic 0" state is QL-QK. This large charge difference QL-QK, between the two different states of the capacitor can be easily sensed by state-of-the-art sense amplifiers. After the sense amplifier detects the state, a write back operation may or may not be performed depending on the design requirements.

As is known in the art, when the voltage is removed from the capacitor, the capacitor in the logic "1" state falls back to about E, while the capacitor in the logic "0" state falls back to about F. Each time the capacitor is read, the capacitor returns to a state more towards zero. However, for state-of-the-art ferroelectric capacitors, there is a limit as to how much the hysteresis curve will relax, and after millions of cycles, the capacitor in the logic "1" state reaches such a point G where it will not relax any more, and the capacitor in the logic "0" state reaches the point H where it also will not relax any more. However, as is known in the art, the hysteresis curve on subsequent cycles after the first also shifts, so that the capacitor in the logic "1" state always absorbs less charge than the capacitor in the logic "0" state. The above also explains why, for a robust system, it is desirable to have a rewrite cycle even though the capacitor is not switched in the SNDRO read methods described above. The rewrite cycle returns the capacitors to the states A and C, respectively; thus, the relaxation of the capacitor does not impact the performance of the capacitor.

Turning now to FIG. 12, a portion of a memory cell array 930 according to the invention having partitioned bit lines and drive lines is shown. Array 930 includes several levels of bit lines. The top level bit line 932 Is one of lines 447 of memory 436 (FIG. 6). That is, it is closer to Y Multiplexer 478. Each top level bit line, such as 932, has multiple groups (947, 948) of two second level bit lines 934 and 936 associated with it. The extension of the bit lines such as 932, 934 and 936 at the top and bottom of the figure is Intended to indicate the preferred presence of multiple groups of second level bit lines. The number of second level bit lines will depend on layout and circuit design considerations which can be different for different implementation strategies. Each second level bit line 934, 936 is connected to the top level bit line 932 through a transistor 938 and 939, respectively. The gate of transistor 938 is connected to a first group select line 940, while the gate of transistor 939 is connected to a second group select line 942. To permit the reader to connect the discussion of array 930 with the discussion of array 200 and 240 of FIG. 2, we will assume that the top left memory cell or array 930 is also the top left memory cell of arrays 200, 240, and have numbered the elements the same. To select a cell to be addressed in array 930, both a group select line and a word line corresponding to the cell must be active. For example, to select cell 100, the GRSEL1 signal must be high turning on transistor 938 and connecting second level bit line 934 to top level bit line 932, and word line 101 must be high turning on transistors 105, 107, and 109. To select a cell in the lower group, GRSEL1 is low and GRSEL2 is high.

Each second level bit line, such as 934, is connected to a small number of memory cells, e.g., 8, 16, etc. The total bit line capacitance is the sum of the top level bit line capacitance and the second level bit line capacitance. Since only one second level bit line is connected to the top level bit line when accessing a cell, the capacitances of the other second level bit lines do not affect the total bit line capacitance. Thus, the partitioning of the bit lines significantly lowers the bit line capacitance, which significantly increases the speed at which the bit line will come up to full voltage, which speeds up the memory.

Array 930 also includes several levels of drive lines. The top level drive line 941 is one of lines 447 of memory 436 (FIG. 6). That is, it is closer to Y Multiplexer 478. Each top level drive line, such as 941, has multiple groups of two second level drive lines 945 and 946 associated with it. The extension of the drive lines such as 941, 945 and 946 at the top and bottom of the figure is intended to indicate the preferred presence of multiple groups of second level drive lines. Again, the number of second level drive lines will depend on layout and circuit design considerations. Each second level drive line 945, 946 is connected to the top level drive line 941 through a transistor 943 and 944, respectively. The gate of transistor 943 is connected to first group select line 940, while the gate of transistor 944 is connected to second group select line 942. In this embodiment, the group select signals GRSEL1 and GRSEL2 select the group as described above with respect to the bit line partioning. As for the bit lines, each second level drive line, such as 943, is connected to a small number of memory cells, e.g., 8, 16, etc. The total drive line capacitance is the sum of the top level drive line capacitance and the second level drive line capacitance. Since only one second level drive line is connected to the top level drive line when accessing a cell, the capacitances of the other second level drive lines do not affect the total drive line capacitance. Thus, the partitioning of the drive lines significantly lowers the drive line capacitance, which significantly increases the speed at which the drive line will come up to full voltage, which speeds up the memory.

While in the embodiment shown in FIG. 12, both the bit lines and drive lines are partioned, in other embodiments only the bit lines or only the drive lines may be partioned. Additional levels below the second level may exist also. The important aspect is that there is a hierarchy of bit lines and/or drive lines, with each top level line connecting with multiple second level lines through transistors, each second level connecting line connecting with multiple third level lines through transistors, etc. Word lines may also be partioned in a similar manner to the bit and drive lines.

Since cell 100 has an extra transistor as compared to, for example, conventional DRAM designs, it would seem that it would be somewhat less dense than a comparable complementary mode DRAM design, or a comparable DRAM design using dummy cells. However, while the density of the cell portion of the memory is somewhat more than conventional designs sometimes labeled as 1T/1C, the advantages of isolation and low power lead to an overall low density when the support structures that every memory must have are considered. Since the capacitors that are not addressed are isolated and their capacitance does not contribute to the drive and bit line capacitance, the arrays may be made much larger than previous arrays of ferroelectric memories, without having huge bit line and drive line drivers, and without having a plate line driver for each row of cells, as in some prior art memories. Since the supporting structure is much smaller, the overall memory density is smaller. As compared to DRAMS, refresh circuitry is not required because the memory is non-volatile. Moreover, the drive line located between the bit lines permits an efficient design of the memory, and at the same time reduces cross-talk between the bit lines, which allows all the elements of the array to be more compact.

The memory according to the invention also uses much less power than prior art designs. The large capacitances which required large bit line and drive line drivers, or drivers for each row of cells in come cases, inherently results in a high power requirement. Moreover, in prior art designs, many non-addressed cells were continually being powered up. This is wasteful of power and is eliminated in the memory according to the invention.

In addition to the density and low power that the isolated capacitors and other features of the invention provide, the reduced capacitance also greatly enhances the speed of the memory. The reduced capacitance means that the time for the voltage lines to stabilize is smaller, and the cycle time is also correspondingly smaller. The isolation also leads to less noise, and completely eliminates disturb to a non-selected memory cell due to other memory cells being written to or read. This lower noise and elimination of many of the sources of disturb permits a reliable SNDRO read function, which is extremely fast.

There has been described herein a memory having three transistor and two capacitors, a drive line symmetrically located between bit lines, and having numerous other novel features. It should be understood that the particular embodiments shown in the drawings and described within this specification are for purposes of example and should not be construed to limit the invention, which will be described in the claims below. Further, it is evident that those skilled in the art may now make numerous uses and modifications of the specific embodiment described, without departing from the inventive concepts.

Some examples of memory array structures that utilize features and advantages of the invention are shown in FIGS. 21 - 23. FIG. 21 is an electrical circuit diagram of a portion 950 of a memory array in which each drive line 955 and drive line transistor 956 is associated with a pair of two transistor, two ferroelectric capacitor memory cells 953 and 954. In this embodiment, a single drive line 955 is connected to each of capacitors 957, 958, 959 and 960. Otherwise, the circuit Is the same as circuit 100 of FIG. 1. Circuit 950 may be considered as a single two-bit cell 951 having four capacitors and five transistors, or as two one-bit cells 953 and 954 with a drive line 955 connected to the two cells through a drive transistor.

FIG. 14 is an electrical circuit diagram of a portion 966 of a memory array that is the same as array 950 except that drive line 968 is located between bit line pairs 969, 970 and 971, 972. This embodiment may also be considered as a single two-bit cell or two one-bit cells. This embodiment is more preferred than the embodiment of FIG. 13, since it has less noise and the layout is more balanced and efficient.

FIG. 15 shows another embodiment of a portion 980 of a memory array that has the same structure as the embodiment of FIG. 13, except that bit line pairs 982, 983 and 984, 985 are not complementary, capacitor 988 is a dummy capacitor, and bit line 985 is a dummy bit line. Circuit 980 can be considered to be a single three-bit cell 989 or three one-bit cells 990, 991, and 992.

The embodiments of FIGS. 13 - 15 are more dense and faster than any prior art ferroelectric memories, but are a bit slower than the previous embodiments, and use more power. If one attempts to use more than four capacitors attached to a single drive line, the drivers and support circuitry become so large and the speed decreases so much that most of the advantages of the invention are lost. Layout efficiencies are also lost.

The invention has been described in terms of a ferroelectric memory in which the ferroelectric elements are capacitors. However, many of its aspects can also be applied to ferroelectric memories in which the ferroelectric elements are ferroelectric FETs or other ferroelectric elements. See, for example, United States Patent No. 6,339,238 issued January 15, 2002 to Lim et al., which is incorporated herein by reference as though fully disclosed herein. Many of the elements, such as the structure in which cells are completely isolated, are also applicable to DRAMS.

It is also evident that the device elements and acts recited may, in some instances, be performed in a different order; or equivalent structures may be substituted for the various structures described; or a variety of different materials may be used. It is understood that, after reading the above disclosure, those skilled in the art may make many different embodiments of the invention in addition to those described above.


Anspruch[de]
Ferroelektrischer, nicht flüchtiger Speicher (436), der aufweist: eine Vielzahl (248, 249) von Paaren aus parallelen Bitleitungen (102, 104; 706, 709), eine Vielzahl von Treiberleitungen (103; 707, 708) parallel zu den Bitleitungen, eine Wortleitung (101, 701) senkrecht zu den Bitleitungspaaren und den Treiberleitungen und eine Vielzahl von Speicherzellen (100, 202 - 206, 700), wobei jeder Speicherzelle eines der Paare der Bitleitungen (102, 104; 706, 709) und eine der Treiberleitungen (103; 707, 708) zugeordnet ist, wobei jede Speicherzelle (100, 202 - 206, 700) umfaßt: einen ersten ferroelektrischen Kondensator (106, 712) mit eine ersten Elektrode (126) und einer zweiten Elektrode (125), einen zweiten ferroelektrischen Kondensator (108, 715) mit einer ersten Elektrode (134) und einer zweiten Elektrode (133), einen ersten Transistor (105, 711) mit einem Gatter (123) und einen zweiten Transistor (109, 716) mit einem Gatter (136); wobei in jeder der Speicherzellen der erste Transistor (105, 711) zwischen die erste Elektrode (126) des ersten Kondensators (106, 712) und eine (102, 706) der Bitleitungen in dem zugeordnen Bitleitungspaar geschaltet ist und der zweite Transistor (109, 716) zwischen die erste Elektrode (134) des zweiten Kondensators (108, 715) und die andere (104, 709) der Bitleitungen in dem zugeordneten Bitleitungspaar geschaltet ist, und die Gatter (123, 126) des ersten und zweiten Transistors (105, 109; 711, 716) mit der Wortleitung (101, 701) verbunden sind; wobei der Speicher gekennzeichnet ist durch einen Treiberleitungs-Transistor (107, 713, 714), der jeder der Treiberleitungen (103; 707, 708) zugewiesen ist, wobei der Treiberleitungs-Transistor (107, 713) ein Gatter (128) umfaßt, wobei jede der Treiberleitungen (103; 707, 708) mit der zweiten Elektrode (125, 133) des ersten und zweiten ferroelektrischen Kondensators (106, 108; 712, 715) in der Speicherzelle (100, 202 - 206, 700), der der Treiberleitung zugewiesen ist (103; 707, 708) über den Treiberleitungs-Transistor (107; 713, 714) verbunden ist, wobei jede der Treiberleitungen (103; 707, 708) mit zwei oder weniger der Speicherzellen (100, 202 - 206, 700) verbunden ist; und wobei das Gatter (128) des Treiberleitungs-Transistors (107, 713, 714) mit der Wortleitung (101, 701) verbunden ist. Ferroelektrischer, nicht flüchtiger Speicher nach Anspruch 1, bei dem die Speicherzellen (10, 202 - 206) in Reihen (252, 253) parallel zu den Wortleitungen (101) und Spalten (248, 249) parallel zu den Bit-(102, 104) und Treiberleitungen (103) angeordnet sind, dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß jede der Treiberleitungen (103) mit der zweiten Elektrode (125) des ersten Kondensators (106) und der zweiten Elektrode (133) des zweiten Kondensators (108) in nur einer der Speicherzellen in einer Reihe (252, 253) aus Speicherzellen (100, 202 - 206) verbunden ist. Ferroelektrischer, nicht flüchtiger Speicher nach Anspruch 1, bei dem es eine der Treiberleitungen (103) gibt, die jeder der Zellen (100, 202 - 206) zugeordnet ist, und sich die Treiberleitung (103) zwischen den Bitleitungen (102, 104) in dem Bitleitungspaar, das der Zelle zugeordnet ist, der die Treiberleitung (103) zugeordnet ist, befindet. Ferroelektrischer, nicht flüchtiger Speicher nach Anspruch 1, bei dem die Speicherzellen (953, 954) in Reihen parallel zu den Wortleitungen und Spalten parallel zu den Bitleitungen (969, 970, 971, 972) und den Treiberleitungen (955, 968) angeordnet sind, dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß jede der Treiberleitungen (955, 968) mit der zweiten Elektrode des ersten Kondensators und der zweiten Elektrode des zweiten Kondensators in zwei der Speicherzellen (953, 954) in einer Reihe aus Speicherzellen verbunden ist. Ferroelektrischer, nicht flüchtiger Speicher nach Anspruch 4, bei dem die Treiberleitung (968) sich zwischen den beiden Zellen befindet. Ferroelektrischer, nicht flüchtiger Speicher nach Anspruch 1, bei dem die Bitleitungen (406, 408) komplementär sind und jede der Speicherzellen eine Ein-Bit-Speicherzelle ist. Ferroelektrischer, nicht flüchtiger Speicher nach Anspruch 1, bei dem einer der Kondensatoren ein ferroelektrischer Dummy-Kondensator (998) ist und die Bitleitung, die mit dem ferroelektrischen Dummy-Kondensator (988) verbunden ist, eine Dummy-Bitleitung (985) ist. Ferroelektrischer Speicher nach Anspruch 1, bei dem die Bitleitungen höchstrangige Bitleitungen (932) sind und es eine Vielzahl der Speicherzellen gibt, die in eine erste Gruppe (947) und eine zweite Gruppe (948) aufgeteilt sind, wobei der Speicher weiter einen Transistor (938) zum Auswählen einer ersten Gruppe mit einem Gatter, einen Transistor (939) zum Auswählen einer zweiten Gruppe mit einem Gatter, eine Auswahlleitung (940) für die erste Gruppe, eine Auswahlleitung (942) für die zweite Gruppe, eine erste zweitrangige Bitleitung (934) und eine zweite zweitrangige Bitleitung (936) umfaßt und bei dem der Transistor (938) zum Auswählen einer ersten Gruppe zwischen die höchstrangige Bitleitung (932) und die erste zweitrangige Bitleitung (934) geschaltet ist, wobei der Transistor (939) zum Auswählen der zweiten Gruppe zwischen die höchstrangige Bitleitung (932) und die zweite zweitrangige Bitleitung (936) geschaltet ist, wobei die Auswahlleitung (940) für die erste Gruppe mit dem Gatter des Transistors (938) zum Auswählen der ersten Gruppe verbunden ist und die Auswahlleitung (942) für die zweite Gruppe mit dem Gatter des Transistors (939) zum Auswählen der zweiten Gruppe verbunden ist. Ferroelektrischer Speicher nach Anspruch 8 und weiter eine Bitleitungs-Treiberschaltung (900) zum Treiben der Bitleitung (907) auf eine Spannung, die ein Drittel oder weniger der Hoch-Spannung des Speichers beträgt, umfassend. Ferroelektrischer, nicht flüchtiger Speicher nach Anspruch 1, bei dem jede der Speicherzellen eine Zwei-Bit-Speicherzelle ist. Ferroelektrischer, nicht flüchtiger Speicher nach Anspruch 10, bei dem einer der Kondensatoren ein ferroelektrischer Dummy-Kondensator ist und die Bitleitung, die mit dem ferroelektrischen Dummy-Kondensator verbunden ist, eine Dummy-Bitleitung (226, 228) ist.
Anspruch[en]
A ferroelectric, non-volatile memory (436) comprising: a plurality (248, 249) of pairs of parallel bit lines(102, 104; 706, 709), a plurality of drive lines (103; 707, 708) parallel to said bit lines, a word line (101, 701) perpendicular to said bit line pairs and said drive lines, and a plurality of memory cells (100, 202 - 206, 700), each said memory cell associated with one of said pairs of bit lines (102, 104; 706, 709) and one of said drive lines (103; 707, 708), each said memory cell (100, 202-206, 700) including: a first ferroelectric capacitor (106, 712) having a first electrode (126) and a second electrode (125), a second ferroelectric capacitor (108, 715) having a first electrode (134) and a second electrode (133), a first transistor (105, 711) having a gate (123), and a second transistor (109, 716) having a gate (136); wherein in each said memory cell said first transistor (105, 711) is connected between said first electrode (126) of said first capacitor (106, 712) and one (102, 706) of said bit lines in said associated bit line pair, and said second transistor (109, 716) is connected between said first electrode (134) of said second capacitor (108, 715) and the other (104, 709) of said bit lines in said associated bit line pair, and said gates (123, 136) of said first and second transistors (105, 109; 711, 716) are connected to said word line (101, 701); said memory characterized by a drive line transistor (107, 713, 714) associated with each of said drive lines (103; 707, 708), said drive line transistor (107, 713) including a gate (128), each of said drive lines (103; 707, 708) connected to the second electrode (125, 133) of said first and second ferroelectric capacitors (106, 108; 712, 715) in said memory cell (100, 202-206, 700) associated with said drive line (103; 707, 708) via said drive line transistor (107; 713, 714), each of said drive lines (103; 707, 708) connected to two or less of said memory cells (100, 202-206, 700); and wherein said gate (128) of said drive line transistor (107; 713, 714) is connected to said word line (101, 701). A ferroelectric, non-volatile memory as in claim 1 wherein said memory cells (100, 202-206) are arranged in rows (252, 253) parallel to said word lines (101) and columns (248, 249) parallel to said bit (102, 104) and drive lines (103), characterized in that each of said drive lines (103) is connected to said second electrode (125) of said first capacitor (106) and said second electrode (133) of said second capacitor (108) in only one of said memory cells in a row (252, 253) of memory cells (100, 202-206). A ferroelectric non-volatile memory as in claim 1 wherein there is one of said drive lines (103) associated with each of said cells (100, 202-206), and said drive line (103) is located between said bit lines (102, 104) in said bit line pair associated with said cell with which said drive line (103) is associated. A ferroelectric, non-volatile memory as in claim 1 wherein said memory cells (953, 954) are arranged in rows parallel to said word lines and columns parallel to said bit lines (969, 970, 971, 972) and drive lines (955, 968), characterized in that each of said drive lines (955, 968) is connected to said second electrode of said first capacitor and said second electrode of said second capacitor in two of said memory cells (953, 954) in a row of memory cells. A ferroelectric non-volatile memory as in claim 4 wherein said drive line (968) is located between said two cells. A ferroelectric, non-volatile memory as in claim 1 wherein said bit lines (406, 408) are complementary and each of said memory cells is a one-bit memory cell. A ferroelectric, non-volatile memory as in claim 1 wherein one of said capacitors is a dummy ferroelectric capacitor (988) and said bit line connected to said dummy ferroelectric capacitor (988) is a dummy bit line (985). A ferroelectric memory as in claim 1 wherein said bit lines are top level bit lines (932) and there are a plurality of said memory cells divided into a first group (947) and a second group (948), said memory further including a first group select transistor (938) having a gate, a second group select transistor (939) having a gate, a first group select line (940), a second group select line (942), a first second level bit line (934), and a second second level bit line (936), and wherein said first group select transistor (938) is connected between said top level bit line (932) and said first second level bit line (934), said second group select transistor (939) is connected between said top level bit line (932) and said second second level bit line (936), said first group select line (940) is connected to said gate of said first group select transistor (938), and said second group select line (942) is connected to said gate of said second group select transistor (939). A ferroelectric memory as in claim 8 and further including a bit line driver circuit (900) for driving said bit line (907) to a voltage that is one-third or less of the high voltage of said memory. A ferroelectric, non-volatile memory as in claim 1 wherein each of said memory cells is a two-bit memory cell. A ferroelectric, non-volatile memory as in claim 10 wherein one of said capacitors is a dummy ferroelectric capacitor and said bit line connected to said dummy ferroelectric capacitor is a dummy bit line (226, 228).
Anspruch[fr]
Mémoire non-volatile ferroélectrique (436) comportant : une pluralité (248, 249) de paires de lignes de bits parallèles (102, 104 ; 706, 709), une pluralité de lignes d'attaque (103 ; 707, 708) parallèles auxdites lignes de bits, une ligne de mots (101, 701) perpendiculaire auxdites paires de lignes de bits et auxdites lignes d'attaque, et une pluralité de cellules de mémoire (100, 202-206, 700), chacune desdites cellules de mémoire étant associée à l'une desdites paires de lignes de bits (102, 104 ; 706, 709) et à l'une desdites lignes d'attaque (103 ; 707, 708), chacune desdites cellules de mémoire (100, 202-206, 700) incluant : un premier condensateur ferroélectrique (106, 712) ayant une première électrode (126) et une seconde électrode (125), un second condensateur ferroélectrique (108, 715) ayant une première électrode (134) et une seconde électrode (133), un premier transistor (105, 711) ayant une grille (123), et un second transistor (109, 716) ayant une grille (136), dans laquelle dans chacune desdites cellules de mémoire ledit premier transistor (105, 711) est connecté entre ladite première électrode (126) dudit premier condensateur (106, 712) et l'une (102, 706) desdites lignes de bits de ladite paire de lignes de bits associée, et ledit second transistor (109, 716) est connecté entre ladite première électrode (134) dudit second condensateur (108, 715) et l'autre (104, 709) desdites lignes de bits de ladite paire de lignes de bits associée, et lesdites grilles (123, 126) desdits premier et second transistors (105, 109 ; 711, 716) sont connectées à ladite ligne de mots (101, 701), ladite mémoire étant caractérisée par un transistor de lignes d'attaque (107, 713, 714) associé à chacune desdites lignes d'attaque (103 ; 707, 708), ledit transistor de lignes d'attaque (107, 713) incluant une grille (128), chacune desdites lignes d'attaque (103 ; 707, 708) étant connectée à la seconde électrode (125, 133) desdits premier et second condensateurs ferroélectriques (106, 108 ; 712, 715) dans ladite cellule de mémoire (100, 202-206, 700) associée à ladite ligne d'attaque (103 ; 707, 708) via ledit transistor de lignes d'attaque (107 ; 713, 714), chacune desdites lignes d'attaque (103 ; 707, 708) étant connectée à deux ou moins desdites cellules de mémoire (100, 202-206, 700), et dans laquelle ladite grille (128) dudit transistor de lignes d'attaque (103 ; 707, 708) est connectée à ladite ligne de mots (101, 701). Mémoire non-volatile ferroélectrique selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle lesdites cellules de mémoire (100, 202-206) sont agencées en rangées (252, 253) parallèles auxdites lignes de mots (101) et en colonnes (248, 249) parallèles auxdites lignes de bits (102, 104) et auxdites lignes d'attaque (103), caractérisée en ce que chacune desdites lignes d'attaque (103) est connectée à ladite seconde électrode (125) dudit premier condensateur (106) et à ladite seconde électrode (133) dudit second condensateur (108) uniquement dans l'une desdites cellules de mémoire d'une rangée (252, 253) des cellules de mémoire (100, 200-206). Mémoire non-volatile ferroélectrique selon la revendication 1 dans laquelle il existe l'une desdites lignes d'attaque (103) associée à chacune desdites cellules (100, 202-206), et ladite ligne d'attaque (103) est située entre lesdites lignes de bits (102, 104) de ladite paire de lignes de bits associée à ladite cellule à laquelle ladite ligne d'attaque (103) est associée. Mémoire non-volatile ferroélectrique selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle lesdites cellules de mémoire (953, 954) sont agencées en rangées parallèles auxdites lignes de mots et en colonnes parallèles auxdites lignes de bits (969, 970, 971, 972) et auxdites lignes d'attaque (955, 968), caractérisée en ce que chacune desdites lignes d'attaque (955, 968) est connectée à ladite seconde électrode dudit premier condensateur et à ladite seconde électrode dudit second condensateur dans deux desdites cellules de mémoire (953, 954) d'une rangée des cellules de mémoire. Mémoire non-volatile ferroélectrique selon la revendication 4, dans laquelle ladite ligne d'attaque (968) est située entre lesdites deux cellules. Mémoire non-volatile ferroélectrique selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle lesdites lignes de bits (406, 408) sont complémentaires et chacune desdites cellules de mémoire est une cellule de mémoire d'un bit. Mémoire non-volatile ferroélectrique selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle l'un desdits condensateurs est un condensateur ferroélectrique factice (988) et ladite ligne de bits connectée audit condensateur ferroélectrique factice (988) est une ligne de bits factice (985). Mémoire non-volatile ferroélectrique selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle lesdites lignes de bits sont des lignes de bits de niveau haut (932) et il existe une pluralité desdites cellules de mémoire divisées en un premier groupe (947) et en un second groupe (948), ladite mémoire incluant un transistor de sélection de premier groupe (938) ayant une grille, un transistor de sélection de second groupe (939) ayant une grille, une ligne de sélection de premier groupe (940), une ligne de sélection de second groupe (942), une première ligne de bits de second niveau (934), et une seconde ligne de bits de second niveau (936), et dans laquelle ledit transistor de sélection de premier groupe (938) est connecté entre ladite ligne de bits de niveau haut (932) et ladite première ligne de bits de second niveau (934), et ledit transistor de sélection de second groupe (939) est connecté entre ladite ligne de bits de niveau haut (932) et ladite seconde ligne de bits de second niveau (936), ladite ligne de sélection de premier groupe (940) est connectée à ladite grille dudit transistor de sélection de premier groupe (938), et ladite ligne de sélection de second groupe (942) est connectée à ladite grille dudit transistor de sélection de second groupe (939). Mémoire non-volatile ferroélectrique selon la revendication 8, et incluant en outre un circuit d'attaque de ligne de bits (900) pour attaquer ladite ligne de bits (907) à une tension qui est égale à un tiers ou moins de la haute tension de ladite mémoire. Mémoire non-volatile ferroélectrique selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle chacune desdites cellules de mémoire est une cellule de mémoire à deux bits. Mémoire non-volatile ferroélectrique selon la revendication 10, dans laquelle l'un desdits condensateurs est un condensateur ferroélectrique factice et ladite ligne de bits connectée audit condensateur ferroélectrique factice est une ligne de bits factice (226, 228).






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