The traditional method of implementing SRAM in CMOS is via a six-transistor cell and five routing lines. If the number of transistors and the number of wires could be reduced, the packing density of the memory cells could be increased, and the area reduced. This document describes the design of an SRAM system based on a new four¬transistor SRAM cell. The primary design goal was to create a functional system, so that the relationship between reduced cell area and a potentially reduced system area could be investigated. A new write method and associated array structure has been used, and the design of the system parameters was accomplished using static noise margin theory. The power dissipation and percentage reduction in cell area have been improved over previous designs. The circuits to achieve the access to the cell have been designed and simulated. These include low-impedance driver circuits, that allow the power supply of the cell's devices to be individually modified to read and write the cell, and a current sense amplifier system to convert the output current to a digital voltage. These circuits allow complete and accurate control to be achieved, but a price is paid for the complexity in terms of layout area. The SRAM system emulates a standard SRAM, and could therefore be used to replace current SRAM implementations. The design was simulated on a system level, and found to operate correctly. Although it is outperformed by its six-transistor cell counterpart in terms of power dissipation, speed and layout area, the groundwork for defining further research and improving the characteristics of further designs has been laid.
Dissertation (MEng (Electronic Engineering))--University of Pretoria, 2002.