JP4739360B2 - Nonvolatile magnetic thin film memory device - Google Patents

Nonvolatile magnetic thin film memory device Download PDF

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JP4739360B2
JP4739360B2 JP2008040090A JP2008040090A JP4739360B2 JP 4739360 B2 JP4739360 B2 JP 4739360B2 JP 2008040090 A JP2008040090 A JP 2008040090A JP 2008040090 A JP2008040090 A JP 2008040090A JP 4739360 B2 JP4739360 B2 JP 4739360B2
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temperature
thin film
magnetic thin
temperature sensor
memory device
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JP2008177594A (en
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一久 岡野
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キヤノン株式会社
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  The present invention relates to a nonvolatile magnetic thin film memory device using a magnetoresistive effect element, and more particularly to a nonvolatile magnetic thin film memory device corresponding to a temperature change of a coercive force of a perpendicular magnetization film.

  Conventionally, a magnetic thin film memory is known as a solid-state memory having no moving part, like a semiconductor memory. Such a magnetic thin film memory satisfies the conditions such that information is not lost even when the power is turned off, the number of repeated rewrites of information is infinite, and there is no risk of information being lost even when radiation is incident. Therefore, it has many advantages compared with the conventional semiconductor memory.

  Among them, a magnetic thin film memory using a tunnel magnetoresistive (TMR) effect that has been recently proposed is particularly attracting attention. The magnetic thin film memory using the tunnel magnetoresistive effect can obtain a larger output than the conventional magnetic thin film memory using the anisotropic magnetoresistive effect and the giant magnetoresistive effect.

  In a magnetic thin film memory using the tunnel magnetoresistive effect, two ferromagnetic layers are separated by a thin insulating layer (tunnel barrier layer), and a magnetoresistance is generated according to the difference in spin polarizability between the two ferromagnetic layers. The magnitude of the tunnel current depends on whether the magnetizations of the two ferromagnetic layers are relatively parallel or antiparallel.

  FIG. 11 is a schematic diagram showing a configuration example of a magnetic thin film memory using a conventional tunnel magnetoresistive effect.

  As shown in FIG. 11, the tunnel barrier layer 112 is sandwiched between magnetic layers 111 and 113 having different coercive forces.

  In the magnetic thin film memory configured as described above, when a voltage 114 is applied between the magnetic layers 111 and 113, electrons from one magnetic layer penetrate the tunnel barrier layer 112 and enter the other magnetic layer. Thus, a tunnel current is generated. The magnitude of this tunnel current depends on the applied voltage. The resistance depends on the magnetization state of both layers of the magnetic layers 111 and 113, and takes the minimum resistance value when both layers are relatively parallel and takes the maximum resistance value when they are antiparallel. This phenomenon has been confirmed both when the magnetic layers 111 and 113 are in-plane magnetization films and perpendicular magnetization films (Journal of the Japan Society of Applied Magnetics 24, 563-566 (2000)).

  As a magnetic thin film memory using such a phenomenon, there is a nonvolatile magnetic memory device called MRAM (Magnetic Random Access Memory).

  Conventionally, a tunnel magnetoresistive element using an in-plane magnetic film having a large in-plane magnetic anisotropy such as Fe, Co, Ni, etc. as a ferromagnetic layer of the tunnel magnetoresistive film has been actively developed. No. 11-213650 introduces a magnetoresistive effect element using a perpendicular magnetization film. It has been shown that a magnetoresistive effect element using a perpendicular magnetization film is superior in miniaturization because a demagnetizing field does not occur even if the element size is reduced.

  A tunnel magnetoresistive element using a perpendicular magnetization film is driven by a field effect transistor.

  FIG. 12 is a diagram showing a configuration example of a magnetic thin film memory using a perpendicular magnetization film as a tunnel magnetoresistive effect element.

The magnetic thin film memory of FIG. 12 includes a gate and a source of a transistor 121 on a substrate, and further uses a tunnel magnetoresistive element 122 as a storage element. Further, writing is performed by a current magnetic field in the direction perpendicular to the film surface generated from the write line 123. Although only a single bit memory cell is shown in this figure, actually, a plurality of memory cells are arranged on the substrate, and each memory cell is electrically isolated by an interlayer insulating film.
Japanese Patent Laid-Open No. 11-213650 Journal of the Japan Society of Applied Magnetics 24,563-366 (2000)

  In general, the coercive force of a magnetic material changes as the temperature rises. When the temperature of the tunnel magnetoresistive element constituting the nonvolatile magnetic thin film memory device increases, the coercive force of the magnetic layer that is one component of the element changes. When the coercive force is reduced, crosstalk between adjacent cells becomes a problem, and when the coercive force is increased, problems such as writing failure occur.

  In particular, in an MRAM that records information by applying a magnetic field generated by an electric current, it is difficult to prevent a magnetic field from being applied to memory cells around the memory cell to which information is to be written. In particular, when applied to a portable device or the like, the operating temperature varies, and erroneous writing or the like may frequently occur in peripheral memory cells due to the influence of the temperature.

  In addition, the coercivity of a tunnel magnetoresistive element using a perpendicular magnetization film is generally large. Therefore, since the current value due to the write line for writing to the element becomes very large, heat generation of the entire device is remarkable.

  The present invention has been made to solve the above problems, and an object thereof is to provide a nonvolatile magnetic thin film memory device that operates stably even when the temperature of the device rises.

  In view of the above problems, the present invention adjusts the composition of the perpendicular magnetization film, which is one component of the magnetoresistive effect element, so that the temperature dependence of the coercive force is reduced within the operating temperature range.

  Therefore, when writing information to the magnetoresistive effect element, the temperature change is detected by the temperature sensor, and compared with the reference current value of the device that stores the temperature change data of the coercive force provided separately, the appropriate value at each temperature It is characterized in that an appropriate write current value is passed.

  In addition, before information is written to the magnetoresistive effect element, and at regular time intervals, test recording is performed on the test recording element to find a current value that is not erroneously recorded.

  Further, as these magnetoresistive elements, it is more preferable to use a tunnel magnetoresistive film because the rate of change in magnetoresistance is large.

  As described above, according to the nonvolatile magnetic thin film memory device of the present invention, even when the environmental temperature changes, information is accurately recorded by setting the tunnel magnetoresistive element or the information write current to the optimum condition. There is an effect that can be done.

Hereinafter, embodiments of the nonvolatile magnetic memory device of the present invention will be described in detail.
(First embodiment)
FIG. 1 is a diagram showing a change in temperature of saturation magnetization of a magnetic film which is a component of the tunnel magnetoresistive effect element of the first embodiment. FIG. 2 is a graph showing a change in coercive force with temperature in the magnetic film of the first embodiment.

  The magnetic films shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 are perpendicularly magnetized films in the absence of an applied magnetic field at room temperature. An alloy thin film of Tb as the rare earth metal and Fe and Co as the transition metal is used.

  As shown in FIG. 3, in the magnetic layer of this example, the direction of the sublattice magnetization of Tb and the direction of the sublattice magnetization of Fe and Co are magnetically coupled in an antiparallel state at room temperature.

  As the temperature of the magnetic layer is increased, there is a compensation temperature in which the magnitude of the magnetization of Tb is equal to the magnitude of the magnetization of Fe and Co as shown in FIG. There is a Curie temperature at which the magnetization disappears.

  In this embodiment, a magnetic film having a compensation temperature higher than room temperature and lower than the Curie temperature is used. Further, the compensation temperature is preferably 100 [° C.] or higher. By adjusting the composition of the TbFeCo alloy thin film so as to satisfy such a condition, the amount of change in coercive force is 10 [° C. within the operating temperature −20 [° C.] to 100 [° C.] as shown in FIG. Oe].

  Here, only TbFeCo is taken as an example. However, for example, when it is desired to control the magnitude of the coercive force small, a magnetic film containing Gd may be used. The temperature dependence of saturation magnetization and coercive force may be appropriately controlled.

  Further, the transition metal may include Ni, and the rare earth metal may include Dy. This also makes it possible to control the temperature dependence of saturation magnetization and coercivity.

(Second embodiment)
In this embodiment, a MOS-FET is provided at the end of the memory cell array of the MRAM to form a temperature sensor.

  FIG. 4 is a simplified diagram showing the configuration of the MRAM in the second embodiment. FIG. 5 is a flowchart showing a flow of a recording process for detecting the environmental temperature of the MRAM and recording information under the optimum recording conditions in the second embodiment. FIG. 6 is a diagram showing a configuration of a temperature sensor used for detecting the environmental temperature. FIG. 7 is a diagram showing the temperature dependence of the gate electrode threshold voltage used in the temperature sensor. FIG. 7 shows the temperature dependence of the threshold voltage when a p-MOS is used as an example.

  As shown in FIG. 4, the MRAM in this embodiment includes a temperature sensor 46, a tunnel magnetoresistive effect element 41, a write line 42, a write line decoder 44, a bit line 43, and a bit line decoder 45. I have. The write line 42 is for writing information to the tunnel magnetoresistive element. The write line decoder 44 controls the write line 42. The bit line 43 is for reading information of the tunnel magnetoresistive effect element. The bit line decoder 45 controls the bit line 43.

  The temperature sensor 46 in this embodiment uses a MOS-FET provided under the tunnel magnetoresistive effect element 41.

  As shown in FIG. 6, an extra MOS-FET is provided at a location separated from the memory cell array 64. In this embodiment, this MOS-FET is used as the temperature sensor 65.

  As shown in FIG. 7, the threshold value of the gate electrode of the MOS-FET shows dependence on temperature.

  The temperature detection of the temperature sensor 65 shown in FIG. 6 is performed with the structure of the field effect transistor as it is. Since the characteristics of the transistor change sensitively with respect to temperature, this temperature dependency can be used for temperature detection and can be formed on the substrate by the same process as the transistor provided for driving.

  Actually, since the gate voltage of the gate 63 is not increased, a current is passed between the source 61 and the drain 62. When the gate voltage becomes higher than the threshold voltage, a current flows between the source 61 and the drain 62, and the operating temperature is detected by reading the voltage at that time.

  In this way, if the ambient temperature is detected by the temperature sensor 65 before writing regular information and writing is performed with the optimum writing current, problems such as crosstalk and writing failure due to changes in the operating temperature can be solved.

  Further, as shown in FIG. 5, the ambient temperature is measured by the temperature sensor before the regular data is written (step S51). Further, the optimum write current value is detected by comparison with the data in the comparator in which the temperature-dependent data of the gate electrode threshold value of the MOS-FET is stored (step S52). The optimum write current value is obtained from the temperature change data of the coercive force of the tunnel magnetoresistive element and the ambient temperature. The temperature change of the coercive force of the tunnel magnetoresistive element may be recorded in advance in a separately provided device.

  After that, if normal data is written by controlling the write current value (step S53), the data can be written normally.

  In this embodiment, the threshold voltage of the gate electrode of the lower MOS-FET portion in the MRAM is used as a temperature sensor, but the temperature change is made by using the temperature change of the resistance values of the gate electrode, the drain electrode, and the source electrode. It can also be a sensor.

  Further, it is possible to provide a temperature sensor for each bit line and write line to detect the temperature and control the current value for each column or row. Of course, an arbitrary area may be set to control the current value flowing for each area.

According to the present embodiment, since the temperature change in the memory cell array is detected and information is recorded, it is possible to reduce erroneous writing and writing failure due to the temperature change.
(Third embodiment)
In the third embodiment, information writing is controlled step by step according to the environmental temperature by performing test writing using the memory cells in the margin area of the memory cell array of the MRAM as test write memory cells. That is, information is written into an arbitrary memory cell with a certain current value, and after recording is confirmed, an information recording operation is started. The status of the memory cell can be determined by checking whether or not a normal recording operation is performed during the trial writing.

  FIG. 8 is a simplified diagram showing the configuration of the MRAM in the third embodiment. FIG. 9 is a flowchart showing the flow of a recording process for recording information under the optimum recording conditions for each environmental temperature of the MRAM in the third embodiment, and FIG. 10 is a diagram showing the configuration of the trial write tunnel magnetoresistive element.

  As shown in FIG. 8, the MRAM according to the present embodiment includes a test write memory cell 86, a tunnel magnetoresistive effect element 81, a write line 82, a write line decoder 84, a bit line 83, and a bit line decoder 85. And. Regular data is written in the tunnel magnetoresistive element 81. The write line 82 is for writing information to the tunnel magnetoresistive effect element 81. The write line decoder 84 controls the write line 82. The bit line 83 is for reading information from the tunnel magnetoresistive effect element 81. The bit line decoder 85 controls the bit line 83. In the present embodiment, data is written to the test write memory cell 86 before normal data is written, and normal data is written after confirming whether data is normally written.

  As shown in FIG. 10, the test write memory cell 86 having the test write tunnel magnetoresistive element 102 is provided in the margin area of the normal data memory cell 101.

  As shown in FIG. 9, first, the write line decoder in the margin area, that is, the area where trial writing is performed is turned ON (step S91). Next, recording is performed in the test writing memory cell 86 (step S92). Next, the test write memory cell 86 recorded in step S92 and the test write memory cell 86 adjacent to the test write memory cell 86 are reproduced (step S93), and it is confirmed whether or not there is a write failure. (Step S94).

  When memory cells are arranged in a matrix like an MRAM and a specific memory cell is selected by a magnetic field caused by current and information is recorded, the magnetic field is applied to the memory cell adjacent to the memory cell to be written. It is inevitable that it is applied. Therefore, if the coercive force of the magnetic film is reduced due to a temperature change or the like, the possibility of erroneous writing increases. Therefore, when confirming the recording, it is necessary to confirm that no erroneous writing is performed in both the test writing memory cell for recording and the memory cell adjacent thereto.

  If there is a write failure, the write current value is changed, the process returns to step S91, and the same operation is repeated until normal writing is confirmed.

  If there is no write failure, the write current value is determined (step S95), and regular data is written (step S96).

  By writing information as described above, normal data could be written normally.

It is a figure which shows the temperature change of the saturation magnetization of the magnetic film which is a component of the tunnel magnetoresistive effect element of 1st Example. It is a figure which shows the temperature change of the coercive force in the magnetic film of a 1st Example. It is a figure which shows the state of the spin of the magnetic layer of a 1st Example. It is a simplified diagram showing the configuration of the MRAM in the second embodiment. It is a flowchart which shows the flow of the recording process which detects the environmental temperature of MRAM in a 2nd Example, and records information on optimal recording conditions. It is a figure which shows the structure of the temperature sensor used for detection of environmental temperature. It is a figure which shows the temperature dependence of the gate electrode threshold voltage utilized with a temperature sensor. It is a simplified diagram showing the configuration of the MRAM in the third embodiment. It is a flowchart which shows the flow of the recording process which records information on the optimal recording conditions for every environmental temperature of MRAM in a 3rd Example. It is a figure which shows the structure of a trial writing tunnel magnetoresistive effect element. It is the schematic which shows one structural example of the magnetic thin film memory using the conventional tunnel magnetoresistive effect. It is a figure which shows one structural example of the magnetic thin film memory which used the perpendicular magnetization film for the tunnel magnetoresistive effect element.

Explanation of symbols

41 tunnel magnetoresistive effect element 42 write line 43 bit line 44 write line decoder 45 bit line decoder 61 source 62 drain 63 gate 64 memory cell array 65 temperature sensor 81 tunnel magnetoresistive effect element 82 write line 83 bit line 84 for write line Decoder 85 Decoder for bit line 86 Memory cell for trial writing S51 to S53, S91 to S96 Steps

Claims (4)

  1. In a nonvolatile magnetic thin film memory in which memory cells including transistors and magnetoresistive elements are arranged in an array on a substrate and provided with metal wiring for writing information to the magnetoresistive elements,
    Control means for controlling the current value flowing through the metal wiring stepwise;
    A temperature sensor for detecting the temperature of the magnetoresistive effect element;
    The temperature sensor includes a MOS-FET disposed on the substrate;
    The non-volatile magnetic thin film memory device, wherein the control means controls a current flowing through the metal wiring according to a temperature detected by the temperature sensor.
  2.   2. The nonvolatile magnetic thin film memory device according to claim 1, wherein the temperature sensor is formed in the same process as a MOS-FET for driving a memory cell array.
  3.   3. The nonvolatile magnetic thin film memory device according to claim 1, wherein the temperature sensor detects a change in temperature of a threshold voltage of a gate of the MOS-FET.
  4.   The non-volatile magnetic thin film memory device according to claim 1, wherein the magnetoresistive effect element is a tunnel magnetoresistive effect element.
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US10048137B2 (en) 2013-10-07 2018-08-14 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Semiconductor devices including electrodes for temperature measurement

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KR101083302B1 (en) * 2009-05-13 2011-11-15 주식회사 하이닉스반도체 Semiconductor memory device
KR101161745B1 (en) 2009-06-05 2012-07-02 에스케이하이닉스 주식회사 Semiconductor memory device
KR101962784B1 (en) 2012-10-09 2019-03-27 삼성전자주식회사 semiconductor memory device having discriminatory read and write operations according to temperature

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JPS62222314A (en) * 1986-03-25 1987-09-30 Seiko Epson Corp Constant current circuit for temperature sensor
JPH04100892A (en) * 1990-08-20 1992-04-02 Ask:Kk Production of granular asphalt
JPH06314491A (en) * 1993-04-30 1994-11-08 Hitachi Ltd Semiconductor memory
JPH10275491A (en) * 1997-03-31 1998-10-13 Sanyo Electric Co Ltd Temperature detecting device for non-volatile memory
JPH113585A (en) * 1997-06-12 1999-01-06 Canon Inc Magnetic thin film memory element and its recording and reproducing method

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JPS62222314A (en) * 1986-03-25 1987-09-30 Seiko Epson Corp Constant current circuit for temperature sensor
JPH04100892A (en) * 1990-08-20 1992-04-02 Ask:Kk Production of granular asphalt
JPH06314491A (en) * 1993-04-30 1994-11-08 Hitachi Ltd Semiconductor memory
JPH10275491A (en) * 1997-03-31 1998-10-13 Sanyo Electric Co Ltd Temperature detecting device for non-volatile memory
JPH113585A (en) * 1997-06-12 1999-01-06 Canon Inc Magnetic thin film memory element and its recording and reproducing method

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US10048137B2 (en) 2013-10-07 2018-08-14 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Semiconductor devices including electrodes for temperature measurement

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