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Improving TID Radiation Robustness of a CMOS OxRAM-Based Neuron Circuit by Using Enclosed Layout Transistors

Pablo Ilha Vaz 1 Patrick Girard 1 Arnaud Virazel 1 Hassen Aziza 2
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LIRMM - Laboratoire d'Informatique de Robotique et de Microélectronique de Montpellier
Abstract : Aerospace applications are attractive candidates to embed Artificial Neural Networks despite their excellent parallel processing capability and reduced energy consumption. Nonetheless, the long-term exposure to incidence levels of ionizing radiation may degrade their physical components reducing, therefore, their reliability and expected lifetime. Thus, it is mandatory to face the challenge of enhancing the radiation hardening characteristics of a neural circuit before operating in harsh environments. A possible solution to substantially reduce long-term spurious effects caused by ionizing radiation (referred to as Total Ionizing Dose-TID) is to change the conventional rectangular MOS gate geometry to a non-standard topology referred to as Enclosed Layout Transistor (ELT). In the context of hardening a complete neuron circuit against TID effects, together with the well-established ELT paradigm, it is possible to exploit the inclusion of other hardened devices, for instance, the memory element. In this sense, the Oxide-based Resistive Random Access Memory (OxRAM) can be used as the memory element, which is inherently tolerant against ionizing radiation, and, hence, better suited for a fully hardened circuit. In this work, we propose to harden the design of an existing OxRAMbased neuron circuit [1] through the inclusion of ELTs, i.e., to improve the radiation hardening characteristics of a preexistent convenient neuron circuit topology by using the enclosed gate geometry for the n,pMOS devices. Electrical simulations, considering a standard commercial bulk CMOS fabrication process, in a 180 nm technology, have been carried out to validate our proposed design. Additionally, we exploit two simulation setups. First, the OxRAM's behavior in a simple circuit configuration, to provide a better understanding of the OxRAM device. Second, the OxRAM-based neuron circuit, to evaluate the behavior of the proposed neuron circuit hardened with ELTs. The simulation results, supported by the analysis of former works regarding the incidence of ionizing radiation in OxRAM and ELTs, indicate that the proposed hardened neuron circuit is a feasible solution to embed neuromorphic computing in aerospace applications.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 6:30:03 PM
Last modification on : Friday, October 22, 2021 - 3:07:43 PM

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Pablo Ilha Vaz, Patrick Girard, Arnaud Virazel, Hassen Aziza. Improving TID Radiation Robustness of a CMOS OxRAM-Based Neuron Circuit by Using Enclosed Layout Transistors. IEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems, IEEE, 2021, 29 (6), pp.1122-1131. ⟨10.1109/TVLSI.2021.3067446⟩. ⟨lirmm-03376937⟩

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