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STMicroelectronics and MTL unveil ultra-low-voltage system-on-chip

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STMicroelectronics and the Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL) of Massachusetts Institute of Technology presented the results of an advance R&D project targeting a low-power microprocessor technology at this year’s European Solid-State Circuits Conference in Helsinki, Finland. The voltage-scalable 32-bit microprocessor System-on-Chip (SoC) combines excellent peak performance with extreme energy efficiency to address applications with limited power budget and time-varying processing loads in the medical, wireless sensor networks and mobile fields.

Implemented in ST’s 65-nm CMOS process, the processor SoC reduces power consumption to10.2 pJ/cycle at 0.54 V, while the SRAM memory cells can operate at 0.4 V. Memory-access power consumption is further reduced through the use of a small latch-based instruction and data caches at the first level of the hierarchy. Additional features that make this SoC a compact and self-contained system include on-chip ultra low power clock generation and analog-to-digital conversion, as well as a set of peripherals, such as timers and serial interfaces able to work at the minimum voltage supply.

Richard Nass

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