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Off-state leakage is static power, current that leaks through transistors even when they are turned off. The other source of power dissipation in today's microprocessors, dynamic power, arises from the repeated capacitance charge and discharge on the output of the hundreds of millions of gates in today's chips. Until recently, only dynamic power has been a significant source of power consumption, and Moore's law helped control it. However, power consumption has now become a primary microprocessor design constraint; one that researchers in both industry and academia will struggle to overcome in the next few years. Microprocessor design has traditionally focused on dynamic power consumption as a limiting factor in system integration. As feature sizes shrink below 0.1 micron, static power is posing new low-power design challenges.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2003