2016 Fundamentals of Memory Devices

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Sugahara Satoshi 
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Media-enhanced courses
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Course description and aims

This course covers device and circuit technologies for memory systems that play an essential role in logic systems such as microprocessors, system-on-chip (SOC) devices, field-programmed gate array (FPGA) devices, and microcontrollers. First, the instructor lectures on the requirements and organization of hierarchical memory systems, circuit technologies of memory subsystems, and an introduction to various memories. Second, fundamentals of CMOS devices and circuits are briefly reviewed, and then students learn the operating principles of bistable circuits as a basis for CMOS-based memories. Third, students will gain an understanding of the details of various flip-flops and SRAM cells, along with their applications for registers, register files, and caches. Architectures for high speed, low-power, and stable operation of these memories are also discussed. Fourth, the instructor will cover device and circuit technologies of large capacity memory, namely DRAM. Finally, practically used nonvolatile memories, i.e., Flash and FeRAM, and emerging nonvolatile memories such as MRAM, ReRAM, and PRAM are discussed with new applications for nonvolatile memories in logic systems. The present status and future prospects of these memory circuits and devices are also discussed.

Student learning outcomes

Through the course, the students will be able to
1) understand the concept and organization of memory hierarchy for logic systems.
2) comprehend the operating principles, microarchitectures, performance, and applications of CMOS-based bistable memories (latch, flip-flop, and SRAM).
3) comprehend the operating principles, microarchitectures, performance, and applications of nonvolatile memories (Flash, FeRAM, MRAM, ReRAM, and PRAM).


memory hierarchy, resister, resister file, cache, bistable circuit, latch, flip-flop, SRAM, DRAM, EPRAM, EEPROM, Flash, FeRAM, MRAM, ReRAM, PRAM

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Exercises will be carried out during the class to help students understand lectures

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 memory systems and their organization Memory hierarchy, organization of memory systems, introduction of various memories
Class 2 fundamentals of CMOS devices and circuits Modeling of CMOS devices, CMOS inverter, transfer gates, and advanced CMOS devices
Class 3 bistable circuit and flip-flop Operating principles, performance, and applications of flip-flop
Class 4 SRAM Operating principles, microarchitectures, performance, and applications of SRAM
Class 5 DRAM Operating principles, architectures, and performance of DRAM
Class 6 ROM and Flash Operating principles, architectures, performance, and applications of EPROM, EEPROM, Flash memory
Class 7 MRAM and FeRAM Fundamentals of Magnetic and ferroelectric materials. Operating principles, architectures, performance, and applications of MRAM and FeRAM
Class 8 Emerging nonvolatile memories and new applications of nonvolatile memories for logic systems Microcontroller, FPGA , and lower system applications of emerging nonvolatile memories


None specified

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Course materials will be provided

Assessment criteria and methods

Evaluation will be based on the term-end examination and paper

Related courses


Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)


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