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A 65 nm Sub- V_{t} Microcontroller With Integrated SRAM and Switched Capacitor DC-DC Converter

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4 Author(s)
Kwong, J. ; Microsyst. Technol. Labs., Massachusetts Inst. of Technol., Cambridge, MA ; Ramadass, Y.K. ; Verma, N. ; Chandrakasan, A.P.

Aggressive supply voltage scaling to below the device threshold voltage provides significant energy and leakage power reduction in logic and SRAM circuits. Consequently, it is a compelling strategy for energy-constrained systems with relaxed performance requirements. However, effects of process variation become more prominent at low voltages, particularly in deeply scaled technologies. This paper presents a 65 nm system-on-a-chip which demonstrates techniques to mitigate variation, enabling sub-threshold operation down to 300 mV. A 16-bit microcontroller core is designed with a custom sub-threshold cell library and timing methodology to address output voltage failures and propagation delays in logic gates. A 128 kb SRAM employs an 8 T bit-cell to ensure read stability, and peripheral assist circuitry to allow sub-Vt reading and writing. The logic and SRAM function in the range of 300 mV to 600 mV, consume 27.2 pJ/cycle at the optimal V DD of 500 mV, and 1 muW standby power at 300 mV. To supply variable voltages at these low power levels, a switched capacitor DC-DC converter is integrated on-chip and achieves above 75% efficiency while delivering between 10 muW to 250 muW of load power.

Published in:

Solid-State Circuits, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:44 ,  Issue: 1 )