STT-RAM Energy Reduction Using Self-Referenced Differential Write Termination Technique
Spin-transfer torque random access memory (STT-RAM) has emerged as an attractive candidate for future nonvolatile memories. It advantages the benefits of current state-of-the-art memories including high-speed read operation (of static RAM), high density (of dynamic RAM), and nonvolatility (of flash memories). However, the write operation in the 1T-1MTJ STT-RAM bitcell is asymmetric and stochastic, which leads to high energy consumption and long latency. In this paper, a new write assist technique is proposed to terminate the write operation immediately after switching takes place in the magnetic tunneling junction (MTJ). As a result, both the write time and write energy consumption of 1T-1MTJ bitcells improves. Moreover, the proposed write assist technique leads to an error-free write operation. The simulation results using a 65-nm CMOS access transistor and a 40-nm MTJ technology confirm that the proposed write assist technique results in three orders of magnitude improvement in bit error rate compared with the best existing techniques. Moreover, the proposed write assist technique leads to 81% energy saving compared with a cell without write assist and adds only 9.6% area overhead to a 16-kbit STT-RAM array.