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A ferroelectric memory cell consists of a ferroelectric capacitor and a MOS transistor. Its construction is similar to the storage cell of a DRAM. The difference is in the dielectric properties of the material between the capacitor's electrodes. This material has a high dielectric constant and can be polarized by an electric field. The polarization remains until it gets reversed by an opposite electrical field. This makes the memory non-volatile. Note that ferroelectric material, despite its name, does not necessarily contain iron. The most well-known ferroelectric substance is BaTiO3. A Ferroelectric memory cell consists of a ferroelectric capacitor and a MOS transistor. Its construction is similar to the storage cell of a DRAM. The difference is in the dielectric properties of the material between the capacitor's electrodes. This material has a high dielectric constant and can be polarized by an electric field. The polarization remains until it gets reversed by an opposite electrical field. This makes the memory non-volatile. Data is read by applying an electric field to the capacitor. If this switches the cell into the opposite state (flipping over the electrical dipoles in the ferroelectric material) then more charge is moved than if the cell was not flipped. This can be detected and amplified by sense amplifiers. Reading destroys the contents of a cell which must therefore be written back after a read. This is similar to the precharge operation in DRAM, though it only needs to be done after a read rather than periodically as with DRAM refresh. FRAM is found mainly in consumer devices and because of its low power requirements, could also be used in devices that only need to activate for brief periods. FRAM allows systems to retain information even when power is lost, without resorting to batteries, EEPROM, or flash. Access times are the same as for
VITS, KNR TECH (ECE)
Internal circuits sense the charge spike and set the memory. the FRAM memory needs no periodic refresh and when power fails FRAM memory retains its data. preserving the state of the memory. It's fast. process. so there's no delay-at-write access as there is for EEPROM or flash. As the atom moves within the crystal. and doesn't wear out! To increase the memory capacity. the central atom stays in position. Narrower interconnects are desirable so that memory cells may be made smaller and be packed in greater numbers onto an IC. mostly as embedded memory in microcontrollers and smart cards. Tokyo. KNR TECH (ECE) Page 2 B. however. the central atom moves in the direction of the field. In addition. Colo. and the design. the largest being 256Kb—still a small fraction of the multimegabit chips offered by the major flash memory makers. which also sells its own FRAM products.. VITS. . If the electric field is removed from the crystal. it passes through an energy barrier.5 µm wide and operate at 3 V. In current commercial FRAMs. the cell size must always be reduced. FRAM combines the advantages of SRAM writing is roughly as fast as reading. and materials have been improved aggressively for this purpose.). The pioneer. Their memory capacities are low.non-volatility and in-circuit programmability FRAM TECHNOLOGY: When an electric field is applied to a ferroelectric crystal. Ramtron International Corp. Therefore. (Colorado Springs. has been selling FRAM chips since 1992. and EPROM . causing a charge spike. the interconnects that link individual transistors into circuits are 0.ACADEMIC SEMINAR ON FRAM standard SRAM. ferroelectric RAM products (FRAMs) are the most advanced of the flash challengers. the number of write cycles supported by the FRAM components is nearly Unlimited-up to 10 billion read/writes. Ramtron's FRAMs are made by Fujitsu Ltd.
" Apply an electric field and the atoms in the interiors of all the unit cells in the ferroelectric material move in the field's direction. in the center of each cube face is an oxygen atom. And last November.8-V operation.Each unit cell (a crystal's basic building block) of a ferroelectric material has a permanent electric field around it. it is an electric dipole.ACADEMIC SEMINAR ON FRAM The biggest hurdle for FRAM developers is to advance the manufacturing technology to smaller geometries and lower voltages. line up to point in the same direction. (Dallas) announced that it had built a 64Mb FRAM in a standard 0. When an electric field is applied in the opposite direction. a binary 1 or 0. usually a lead-zirconium-titanate (PZT) compound . the dipoles flip over so that they again point in the direction of the electric field. It's as though two small particles with equal and opposite charges are separated from each other by a short distance—in short. Ramtron's vice president of FRAM products: "One is near the cube's top face and the other is near the bottom. At the core of an FRAM cell is a capacitor filled with a ferroelectric crystalline material. This last has two stable positions. VITS.35-µm interconnect widths and 1. The positions of the atoms in the cubes store the bit of data. the cell gives off a current pulse. Remove the field and the atoms stay put. At each of the cube's eight corners is an atom of lead. Texas Instruments Inc. To read a bit. Many materials form electric dipoles. using technology licensed from Ramtron. an electric field is applied. That's because the geometric center of all the electrons in the unit cell is at a different spot from the geometric center of all the protons. . in a region called a domain. But what sets ferroelectric materials apart from other dipolar materials is that millions of dipoles. explains Mike Alwais. Each unit cell of PZT is shaped like an elongated cube. KNR TECH (ECE) Page 3 B.13-µm CMOS process. If the atoms are near the cube "floors" and the electric field pushes them to the top. and in the interior of the cube is an atom of either zirconium or titanium. R&D at Ramtron is aiming at 0.
" they don't budge when the field is applied and the cell gives off a smaller pulse. the charge leaks away into the silicon substrate almost immediately—unless it is rewritten several times a second. Alwais expects that FRAMs will eventually run as fast as DRAMs with the same memory capacity and cell size. is detected by a sense amplifier. That requirement drives up power consumption. due only to the electric charges stored on the cell capacitor. Texas Instruments is interested in FRAMs for embedded applications—for example. usually silicon dioxide. The FRAM in fact is like the DRAM in every way but one: the DRAM cell's capacitor is of a nonferroelectric material. the sense amplifier writes the data back into the cell. Contributing to pulse amplitude are the movements of the interior atoms in the crystals of the ferroelectric material and the capacitor itself. Fig 1: VITS. If the atoms are already near their cubes' "ceilings. So after the bit is read. and of course when the power is turned off. Because the basic operation and structure of the FRAM and the DRAM are so similar. the charge stored in the capacitors quickly disappears. representing a stored 1 or 0. When data is stored as charge on the DRAM cell's capacitor. KNR TECH (ECE) Page 4 B. . Reading an FRAM cell destroys the data stored in its capacitor. for on-chip storage of the operating instructions for digital signal processors and microcontrollers. just as in a DRAM.ACADEMIC SEMINAR ON FRAM This pulse.
Nonvolatile memories do not lose their contents when power is removed. and use a large amounts of power to write. FRAM bridges the gap between the two categories and creates something completely new -. Fig2: FRAM offers features consistent with a RAM technology. and Flash.Another disadvantage is that ROM based memories wear out after being written a small number of times. ROM based technologies are very slow to write. EEPROM. but they share the annoying quirk of losing their mind when the lights go out. All of its descendants make it very difficult to write new information into them. . RAM type devices are very easy to use. but is nonvolatile like a ROM technology. KNR TECH (ECE) Page 5 B.volatile and nonvolatile. However all of the mainstream nonvolatile memories share a common ancestry that derives from ROM (read only memory) technology. FRAM SPECIFATION: VITS. Traditional mainstream semiconductor memories can be divided into two primary categories -. and are high performing. Volatile memories include SRAM (static random access memory) and DRAM (dynamic random access memory). They include technologies called EPROM (almost obsolete now).ACADEMIC SEMINAR ON FRAM MEMORY BASIC: FRAM offers a unique set of features relative to other memory technologies. The disadvantage is that read only memory is not easy to write it's impossible. They share the property that they lose their contents after power is removed from the electronic system.a nonvolatile RAM.
This FRAM uses a new chain cell structure that links together eight memory cells . FRAM The latest 32-Mbit ferroelectric RAM highest density RAM reported has been developed by Toshiba Corp. Equal access & cycle time for Read and Writes. KNR TECH (ECE) Page 6 B. 15mA Active Current.Each cell has a ferroelectric capacitor and field effect transistor in parallel and not in series.6V operation .875square micron cell size on a 96 square millimetre die. Advanced high reliability ferroelectric process SRAM & DRAM Compatible 70ns Access time 130ns Cycle time.2micron processing .which provides 1.4kb/mm 10 year data retention at 85o C Unlimited read /write cycles. LOW POWER OPERATION: 2. The 32Mbit FRAM is made on0.7V to 3. .ACADEMIC SEMINAR ON 4MB FRAM Nonvolatile Memory Module Features: Organization:4 banks >< 32k >< 32 bits Highest density: Ferroelectric Memory over 22. 15microA stand by Current. VITS.
The ferroelectric RAM (FRAM) has been developed as a nonvolatile memory that satisfies the above requirements. handheld phones. and other applications. and in security systems. because it is fast memory with a very low power requirement. it is expected to have many applications in small consumer devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs). A Smart Card is an IC card that contains a microcomputer. electronic cash payments. . with an embedded microchip that can be loaded with data. KNR TECH (ECE) Page 7 B. An FRAM embedded in an LSI must operate as VITS. and RF circuit. power meters.ACADEMIC SEMINAR ON FRAM APPLICATIONS: FRAM is faster than flash memory. used for telephone calling. storage circuit. . and smart card. A smart card is a plastic card about the size of a credit card. and then periodically refreshed for additional use.
In keeping with this trend.ACADEMIC SEMINAR ON FRAM a low-voltage peripheral logic IC. VITS. Currently or soon. This type of memory has an antitampering function and is used to keep the keys and parameters needed for encryption/decryption algorithms. or buses Give hospitals or doctors personal data without filling out a form Make small purchases at electronic stores on the Web (a kind of cybercash) Buy gasoline at a gasoline station Fujitsu has developed Smart Cards and other high-security devices that use • • • • secure ferroelectric RAM (FRAM) memory. Contactless Smart Cards in particular have rapidly come into wide use because they are easy to use. KNR TECH (ECE) . store a high-speed calculation table for encryption/decryption systems. Current applications for FRAM memory products can be divided into the following four categories: Data collection and logging configuration storage nonvolatile buffer SRAM replacement & Expansion DATA COLLECTION & LOGGING Page 8 B. can perform high-speed processing. modify the keys and parameters for application services. Fujitsu has produced various FRAM-embedded (ferroelectric-RAM-embedded) LSIs for Contactless Smart Cards. and can be used in a wide variety of applications. and support a firewall between applications. you may be able to use a smart card to: • • Dial a connection on a mobile telephone and be charged on a per-call basis Establish your identity when logging on to an Internet access provider or to an online bank Pay for parking at parking meters or to get on subways. We have developed a new FRAM sensing scheme that can read bit-line potentials close to the GND potential. trains.
not just on power down. a history of the changes is important. CONFIGURATION STORAGE FRAM helps system designers overcome the woes of sudden power loss by providing the flexibility to store configuration information in real time -. KNR TECH (ECE) Page 9 B. or subsystems that have the primary function of collecting data that varies over time. . The goal is either to restore its state on power up. End system applications: metering (electric. In general. End system applications: laser printers and copiers. Data collection consists of the acquisition and storage of data. cable modems and set top boxes.a luxury not afforded to users of EEPROMs. or to identify the cause of an error.ACADEMIC SEMINAR ON FRAM FRAM allows system designers to write data to nonvolatile memory faster and more often -. water. before transmitting or storing in other nonvolatile media. RF/ID. Configuration storage deals with the tracking of a system as it changes over time. In some cases. In this case. flow). instrumentation. and white goods NONVOLATILE BUFFER FRAM can store operating data quickly. where as configuration storage is a low level engineering function regardless of the system type. gas. this information is critical and should not be lost if power fails. industrial process control. data collection is often the function of a system or subsystem. the target VITS. and certain automotive application such as airbag controllers. These are systems. In most cases. information is being sent from one subsystem to another. which must be retained in the absence of power (not temporary or scratchpad in nature). networking.
FUTURE APPLICATIONS: APPLICATIONS OF FRAM ON AUTOMOTIVE APPLICATIONS:Today's passenger automobiles and trucks offer increased electronic content and this trend is expected to accelerate. future applications will include hard disk drives with nonvolatile caching. the automotive market is certainly very attractive for FRAM. The most common example is an embedded microcontroller with external serial EEPROM. and in any system using low-end (resource poor) microcontrollers. End system applications: industrial systems and in banking systems such as ATM machines. FRAM can replace the EEPROM. TECH (ECE) Page 10 . RAM. with its fast write and high endurance allows the user to store data before it is sent on to another system. and offer additional SRAM functionality to the micro as well. The average low end auto has five to ten electronic control units while a luxury car may have fifty VITS. and EEPROM functions with one device. SRAM REPLACEMENT & EXPANSION FRAM's fast write and nonvolatile features allow system designers to combine SRAM and EEPROM into one device. saving space. or simply expand SRAM. End system applications: all-in-one memories tend to occur in portable applications. In many cases. FRAM. KNR B. With some 55 million passenger vehicles sold worldwide in 2002 and numerous applications that can benefit from FRAM technology. FRAM offers the ability to perform ROM. a system uses multiple memory types. power and sometimes cost.ACADEMIC SEMINAR ON FRAM system is a larger storage device.
FRAM. The challenge of handling and storing data is a pervasive theme in the proliferation of automotive electronics. Recent introductions include improved ABS systems with traction control. Existing memory choices are often inadequate in managing the frequent updates. and crash recording (black-box) technology. and digital radio platforms. commonly know as black-boxes. it is unlikely to be a separate assembly such as the aircraft black box. THE REAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR FRAM: Below are some of the applications for which automotive development engineers are evaluating or designing with FRAM products today. Consequently it is expected to be widely adopted in automotive applications in the coming years. electronic shift. AIRBAG A principle feature of airbag and restraint systems in the near future will be crash recorders. In the coming years.ACADEMIC SEMINAR ON FRAM to sixty. continuously variable transmissions. KNR B. This architecture is attractive because the sensor data VITS. The automotive black box will be integrated into the airbag or restraint system. with fast write and effectively unlimited endurance offers unique benefits for data handling and storage intensive applications. dynamic stability control. One implication is that increased data handling results in an increase in the frequency of data updates. and control by wire (x-by-wire). new electronic applications will include adaptive cruise control with collision avoidance. Additional sophisticated network technologies will continue to improve behind the scenes automation and performance. DVD players with car navigation. TECH (ECE) Page 11 .
In this rugged environment the data must be stored in a true nonvolatile memory as any form of battery backup will present crash survivability challenges. These systems provide dynamic maps that allow routing to be adjusted based on traffic patterns or other criteria. Ramtron is a member of the IEEE P1616 committee to define a standard for Motor Vehicle Event Data Recorders (MEVDR). It may be called on to collect data frequently over a long period of time in a circular buffer. Today crash recorders are being designed with FRAM products from 16Kb to 64Kb. typically with a SPI interface such as the FM25640. Crash statistics show high percentages of serious crashes result in a power outage during the crash. or to respond very quickly based on sensor readings.ACADEMIC SEMINAR ON FRAM that is critical for a crash recorder is largely available to the controller or can be accessed via busses already in place such as CAN. before power leaves the vehicle and data is lost. A crash recorder is a data logger. 16Kb memories are commonly used in VITS. As a result we have gained valuable insight into data recorder requirements. Ideally the crash recorder would offer both capabilities. TELEMATICS/NAVIGATION: Telematic functions are increasingly part of a high end vehicle electronics package. therefore data must be stored instantly and in a nonvolatile state. FRAM memories are used today in such system to store navigation waypoints. TECH (ECE) Page 12 . bookmarks etc. Technologies such as Flash face performance problems as they provide write endurance which is limited when it comes to long term data collection and they are far too slow to store data in the moment of impact. KNR B.
A 4Kb FRAM such as the FM24C04 has been VITS. these capacitors are physically bulky and undesirable in ever shrinking electronic radios. and tracking elapsed miles often leads to frequent writes. KNR B. enabling the user to continue where they left off when the unit is powered back up. The problem of intermittent data errors is frequently experienced by users in this application. Such radios can download station information and store it in nonvolatile memory. The uncertainty of changes in this data makes it risky to use a limited endurance memory such as EEPROM. The 16K FM25C160’s fast read/write and high-endurance features provide Matsushita mobile automotive devices with a distinctive resume play function. Last year Matsushita selected Ramtron's FRAM for its in-car navigation system. A common work-around is to maintain such download data in RAM and write it when power is turned off. This requires the use of a large capacitor which can maintain power on the EEPROM while it is written. INSTRUMENT CLUSTER Instrument clusters provide varying capabilities.ACADEMIC SEMINAR ON FRAM this application. which would not be possible with alternative memory solutions. The presence of a low density nonvolatile memory is common. While inexpensive. The FM25C160 stores scene changes and unique user data upon power down. Matsushita designed a 16K FRAM into their in-car entertainment systems. ENTERTAINMENT Digital car radios are gaining in popularity. TECH (ECE) Page 13 . The FM25C160 saves system board space by eliminating components and allowing a reduced capacitor size. possibly associated with electrical noise interfering with slower writing nonvolatile memories.
ACADEMIC SEMINAR ON FRAM used in such instrumentation with great success and provides robust operating and data integrity in a noisy environment. Tire pressure logs might be implemented in the car and also in the tire. however the road map for FRAM products includes meeting these temperature requirements. To use a FRAM for example in this application would be more suitable for users since FRAM allows for unrestricted updates of system data. A historical record of tire pressures could present compelling documentation in determining liability should tire pressure contribute to an accident.STABILITY CONTROL ABS has evolved from its basic form to include traction control and more recently to include stability control. such as that of a tire-based historical logger. Traction control uses the wheel slip information already produced by ABS sensors to regulate power to prevent spinning tires due to slippery conditions. TIRE PRESSURE Automobiles are adopting tire pressure sensing technology in order to mitigate the risks associated with driving with under-inflated tires. Based on speed. Future systems will likely involve direct sensor technology that can measure tire pressure. and FRAM is an ideal solution for this application given its unlimited ability to write in low power environments. A natural extension of this data generation is logging. ABS . Currently temperatures for FRAM are specified to 85C and ABS system electronics must normally operate at 125C. Such systems are very sophisticated and involve learning algorithms. Stability control is a more sophisticated variety where power is regulated to each wheel depending on driving conditions. VITS. Today this technology is implemented by sensing rotational differences between tires and inferring tire pressure. KNR B. TECH (ECE) Page 14 . turn radius and road conditions the rotation of individual wheels is managed.
It is less expensive than magnetic memories which require 4 extra mask DISADVANTAGE: 1. KNR B. Low density compared to DRAM & SRAM. these systems operate at 125C and will depend on a future generation of FRAM products. most likely 256Kb parts rated at 125C or higher. EEPROM. Present high cost . 2. without resorting to batteries. FRAM allows systems to retain information even when power is lost. 2.ACADEMIC SEMINAR ON FRAM POWER TRAIN Like stability control. or flash. ADVANTAGES: 1. Access times are the same as for standard SRAM. so there's no delay-at-write access as there is for EEPROM or flash. power train management systems are ever more adaptive and can benefit from a nonvolatile memory that can be updated quickly and often. TECH (ECE) Page 15 . low voltage operation and high write endurance make it superior than other non-volatile memories like EEPROM & FLASH 4. 3. VITS. Low power consumption . Also like ABS.
KNR B. particularly for wireless applications.ACADEMIC SEMINAR ON FRAM FUTURE OF FRAM: Development of FRAM in full range of densities and operating temperatures to support automotive data handling and storage applications will find a wide variety of applications as said above. the FRAM technology can easily be combined with logic and mixed signal technologies to offer more cost effective integrated solutions in the future. CONCLUSION The biggest obstacle to large memories is their large power consumption. But FRAM’s advantage is the low power VITS. In addition. TECH (ECE) Page 16 .
KNR B. TECH (ECE) Page 17 . together with the future automotive applications make it one of the best memories among the new memory technologies among ferromagnetic and ovonic memories. The wide range of applications it has in case of SMART cards and data storage applications. VITS.ACADEMIC SEMINAR ON FRAM consumption compared to other new memory technologies . and hence economic.
com http://www. TECH (ECE) Page 18 .ieee.eetuk.org http://www.savemyfiles.com VITS. KNR B.ACADEMIC SEMINAR ON FRAM REFERENCES Information Technology Magazine http://www.