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J. Low Power Electron. Appl., Volume 6, Issue 2 (June 2016)

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Open AccessArticle
A 0.2 V, 23 nW CMOS Temperature Sensor for Ultra-Low-Power IoT Applications
J. Low Power Electron. Appl. 2016, 6(2), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/jlpea6020010 - 15 Jun 2016
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 5469
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, [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from IEEE S3S Conference 2015)
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Open AccessReview
Mastering the Art of High Mobility Material Integration on Si: A Path towards Power-Efficient CMOS and Functional Scaling
J. Low Power Electron. Appl. 2016, 6(2), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/jlpea6020009 - 14 Jun 2016
Viewed by 3933
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 [...] Read more.
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”). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from IEEE S3S Conference 2015)
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Open AccessArticle
A Sub-Threshold 8T SRAM Macro with 12.29 nW/KB Standby Power and 6.24 pJ/access for Battery-Less IoT SoCs
J. Low Power Electron. Appl. 2016, 6(2), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/jlpea6020008 - 24 May 2016
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4321
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A 36 nW, 7 ppm/°C on-Chip Clock Source Platform for Near-Human-Body Temperature Applications
J. Low Power Electron. Appl. 2016, 6(2), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/jlpea6020007 - 16 May 2016
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4213
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Toward a Faster Screening of Faulty Digital Chips via Current-Bound Estimation Based on Device Size and Threshold Voltage
J. Low Power Electron. Appl. 2016, 6(2), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/jlpea6020006 - 06 May 2016
Viewed by 3776
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Survey of Cache Bypassing Techniques
J. Low Power Electron. Appl. 2016, 6(2), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/jlpea6020005 - 28 Apr 2016
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 4283
Abstract
With increasing core-count, the cache demand of modern processors has also increased. However, due to strict area/power budgets and presence of poor data-locality workloads, blindly scaling cache capacity is both infeasible and ineffective. Cache bypassing is a promising technique to increase effective cache [...] Read more.
With increasing core-count, the cache demand of modern processors has also increased. However, due to strict area/power budgets and presence of poor data-locality workloads, blindly scaling cache capacity is both infeasible and ineffective. Cache bypassing is a promising technique to increase effective cache capacity without incurring power/area costs of a larger sized cache. However, injudicious use of cache bypassing can lead to bandwidth congestion and increased miss-rate and hence, intelligent techniques are required to harness its full potential. This paper presents a survey of cache bypassing techniques for CPUs, GPUs and CPU-GPU heterogeneous systems, and for caches designed with SRAM, non-volatile memory (NVM) and die-stacked DRAM. By classifying the techniques based on key parameters, it underscores their differences and similarities. We hope that this paper will provide insights into cache bypassing techniques and associated tradeoffs and will be useful for computer architects, system designers and other researchers. Full article
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