J. Low Power Electron. Appl.2016, 6(3), 11; doi:10.3390/jlpea6030011 - published 23 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This paper presents an ultra-low swing level converter with integrated charge pumps that shows measured conversion in a 130-nm CMOS test chip from an input at a 145-mV swing to a 1.2-V output. Lowering the input allowable for a single-ended level converter supports energy harvesting systems that need to use very low voltages.
J. Low Power Electron. Appl.2016, 6(2), 10; doi:10.3390/jlpea6020010 - published 15 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We propose a fully on-chip CMOS temperature sensor in which a sub-threshold (sub-VT) proportional-to-absolute-temperature (PTAT) current element starves a current-controlled oscillator (CCO). Sub-VT design enables ultra-low-power operation of this temperature sensor. However, such circuits are highly sensitive to process variations, thereby causing varying circuit currents from die to die. We propose a bit-weighted current mirror (BWCM) architecture to resist the effect of process-induced variation in the PTAT current. The analog core constituting the PTAT, the CCO, and the BWCM is operational down to 0.2 V supply voltage. A digital block operational at 0.5 V converts the temperature information into a digital code that can be processed and used by other components in a system-on-chip (SoC). The proposed temperature sensor system also supports resolution-power trade-off for Internet-of-things (IoT) applications with different sampling rates and energy needs. The system power consumption is 23 nW and the maximum temperature inaccuracy is +1.5/−1.7 °C from 0 °C to 100 °C with a two-point calibration. The temperature sensor system was designed in a 130 nm CMOS technology and its total area is 250 × 250 μm2.
J. Low Power Electron. Appl.2016, 6(2), 9; doi:10.3390/jlpea6020009 - published 14 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In this work, we will review the current progress in integration and device design of high mobility devices. With main focus on (Si)Ge for PMOS and In(Ga)As for NMOS, the benefits and challenges of integrating these materials on a Si platform will be discussed for both density scaling (“more Moore”) and functional scaling to enhance on-chip functionality (“more than Moore”).
J. Low Power Electron. Appl.2016, 6(2), 8; doi:10.3390/jlpea6020008 - published 24 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We present an ultra-low power (ULP) 1 KB SRAM macro for Internet of Things (IoT) battery-less systems-on-chip (SoCs) operating under varying energy harvesting conditions. The unique combination of features within this array allows battery-less SoCs to retain important information for a significantly longer period of time when energy harvesting conditions are poor. The array uses 8T high-threshold (high-VT) static random access memory (SRAM) cells with word line boosting to eliminate write failures coupled with a read-before-write scheme to address read-disturb in half-selected cells. Due to the reduced on current in high-VT devices, read word line boosting is implemented to improve the drive strength of the read buffer, and to eliminate read failures. Leakage currents through the unselected cells during a read operation is addressed by boosting the footer virtual VSS (VVSS) of the read port to the supply voltage (VDD). To reduce the power consumption of instruction memories in battery-less SoCs, two features were utilized in this array: a read burst mode is used when reading consecutive addresses to reduce the read energy, and instructions with higher percentages of “1” data are defined since reading a “1” is less costly than reading a “0” in 8T cells. The proposed array can operate at a wide range of supply voltages (350–700 mV) and has two ULP modes: standby with retention (1.5 pW/bit) and shutdown without retention (0.13 pW/bit). Aggressive power gating of all peripherals during the standby state reduces the array power consumption down to 12.29 nW/KB at 320 mV with data retention. Compared to previously published 8T arrays, the proposed design provides the lowest standby power. The complete shutdown of the array allows further reduction down to 1.09 nW/KB and is suitable for reducing the power consumption of data memories in battery-less SoCs. The measured results from a commercial 130 nm chip show that the proposed array consumes a minimum of 6.24 pJ/access with a 17.16 nW standby power at 400 mV. The read burst mode allows up to 22% reduction in energy/access at 400 mV.
J. Low Power Electron. Appl.2016, 6(2), 7; doi:10.3390/jlpea6020007 - published 16 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We propose a fully on-chip clock-source system in which an ultra-low-power diode-based temperature-uncompensated oscillator (OSCdiode) serves as the main clock source and frequency locks to a higher-power temperature-compensated oscillator (OSCcmp) that is disabled after each locking event to save power. The locking allows the stability of the uncompensated oscillator to stay within the stability bound of the compensated design. This paper demonstrates the functionality of a locking controller that uses a periodic (counter-based) scheme implemented on-chip and a prediction (temperature-drift-based) scheme. The flexible clock source platform is validated in a 130 nm CMOS technology. In the demonstrated system, it achieves an effective average temperature stability of 7 ppm/°C in the human body temperature range from 20 °C to 40 °C with a power consumption of 36 nW at 0.7 V. It achieves a frequency range of 12 kHz to 150 kHz at 0.7 V.
J. Low Power Electron. Appl.2016, 6(2), 6; doi:10.3390/jlpea6020006 - published 6 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Observations of peak and average currents are important for designed circuits, as faulty circuits have abnormal peaks and average currents. Using current bounds to detect faulty chips is a comparatively innovative idea, and many advanced schemes without them use it as a component in statistical outlier analysis. However, these previous research works have focused on the discussion of the testing impact without a proposed method to define reference current bounds to find faulty chips. A software framework is proposed to synthesize high-performance, power-performance optimized, noise-immune, and low-power circuits with current-bound estimations for testing. This framework offers a rapid methodology to quickly screen potential faulty chips by using the peak and average current bounds for different purposed circuits. The proposed estimation technique generates suitable reference current bounds from transistor threshold voltage and size adjustments. The SPICE-level simulation leads to the most accurate estimations. However, such simulations are not feasible for a large digital circuit. Hence, this work proposes constructing a feasible gate-level software framework for large digital circuits that will serve all of simulation purposes. In comparison with transistor-level Nanosim simulations, the proposed gate-level simulation framework has a margin of error of less than 2% in the peak current, and the computation time is 334 times faster.