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VLSI Design
Volume 2007 (2007), Article ID 67019, 6 pages
Research Article

Low-Power Built-In Self-Test Techniques for Embedded SRAMs

Department of Electronic Engineering, Fu Jen Catholic University, Taipei County 24205, Taiwan

Received 30 January 2007; Accepted 5 September 2007

Academic Editor: Bernard Courtois

Copyright © 2007 Shyue-Kung Lu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The severity of power consumption during parallel BIST of embedded memory cores is growing significantly. In order to alleviate this problem, a row bank-based precharge technique based on the divided wordline (DWL) architecture is proposed for low-power testing of embedded SRAMs. The memory cell array is first divided into row banks. The effectiveness of the row bank-based precharge technique is due to the predictable address sequence during test. In low-power test mode, instead of precharging the entire memory array, only the current accessed row bank is precharged. This will result in significant power saving for the precharge circuitry. The precharge power can be reduced to 1/b of that of the traditional precharge techniques, where b denotes the number of row banks in the memory array. With simple transmission gates and inverters, the modified precharge control circuitry was also designed. The hardware overhead for implementing the low-power technique is almost negligible. Moreover, the corresponding BIST design to implement the low-power technique is almost the same as the conventional BIST designs. It is also notable that the inherent low-power characteristics of the DWL architecture can be preserved. According to experimental results, 48.9% power reduction can be achieved for a 256 × 256 bit-oriented SRAM. The memory is divided into 8 row banks. Moreover, if the number of row banks increases, the power saving will also increase.