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R&D: Channel Thickness and Grain Size Engineering for Improvement of Variability and Performance in 3D NAND Flash Memory

Based on analysis of various 3D grain patterns, optimal structures were proposed in terms of variability and/or performance; furthermore, based on the results, authors suggest suitable Tch and GS parameters for given target of 3D NAND flash devices.

IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices has published an article written by Kihoon Nam, Chanyang Park, Jun-Sik Yoon, Giho Yang; Department of Electrical Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), Pohang 37673, South Korea, Min Sang Park, SK hynix Inc., Icheon 17336, South Korea, and Rock-Hyun Baek, Department of Electrical Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), Pohang 37673, South Korea.

Abstract: “In this study, to improve the threshold voltage ( Vth ) variability and cell performance in three-dimensional (3-D) NAND flash memory, we analyzed the electrical characteristics with respect to various channel thickness ( Tch ) and average grain size (GS) values. The 3-D random Voronoi grain patterns were applied to a polycrystalline silicon (poly-Si) channel to determine the actual grain shape using technology computer-aided design (TCAD). For statistical analysis, key electrical characteristics such as the threshold voltage ( Vth ), subthreshold swing (SS), maximum transconductance ( gm ), and on-current ( ION ) were extracted from samples with different patterns of grain boundaries (GBs) at specific Tch and GS values. The standard deviation of Vth ( σVth ) increased with an increase in GS at Tch>22 nm, and no increase trend was observed for σVth at Tch<22 nm. The mean SS, gm , and ION related to the performance improved overall with an increase in GS at the same Tch value. Based on a comprehensive analysis of various 3-D grain patterns, optimal structures were proposed in terms of variability and/or performance. Furthermore, based on the results, we suggest suitable Tch and GS parameters for the given target of 3-D NAND flash devices.“

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