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Supply Switching With Ground Collapse: Simultaneous Control of Subthreshold and Gate Leakage Current in Nanometer-Scale CMOS Circuits

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4 Author(s)
Youngsoo Shin ; Korea Adv. Inst. of Sci. and Technol., Daejeon ; Sewan Heo ; Hyung-Ock Kim ; Jung Yun Choi

Power gating has been widely used to reduce subthreshold leakage. However, the efficiency of power gating degrades very fast with technology scaling, which we demonstrate by experiment. This is due to the gate leakage of circuits specific to power gating, such as storage elements and output interface circuits with a data-retention capability. A new scheme called supply switching with ground collapse is proposed to control both gate and subthreshold leakage in nanometer-scale CMOS circuits. Compared to power gating, the leakage is cut by a factor of 6.3 with 65-nm and 8.6 with 45-nm technology. Various issues in implementing the proposed scheme using standard-cell elements are addressed, from register transfer level to layout. These include the choice of standby supply voltage with circuits that support it, a power network architecture for designs based on standard-cell elements, a current switch design methodology, several circuit elements specific to the proposed scheme, and the design flow that encompasses all the components. The proposed design flow is demonstrated on a commercial design with 90-nm technology, and the leakage saving by a factor of 32 is observed with 3% and 6% of increase in area and wirelength, respectively.

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Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 7 )