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Ultra-wide-band (UWB) communication has a variety of applications ranging from wireless USB to radio frequency (RF) identification tags. For many of these applications, energy is critical due to the fact that the radios are situated on battery-operated or even batteryless devices. Two custom low-power impulse UWB systems are presented in this paper that address high- and low-data-rate applications. Both systems utilize energy-efficient architectures and circuits. The high-rate system leverages parallelism to enable the use of energy-efficient architectures and aggressive voltage scaling down to 0.4 V while maintaining a rate of 100 Mb/s. The low-rate system has an all digital transmitter architecture, 0.65 and 0.5 V radio-frequency (RF) and analog circuits in the receiver, and no RF local oscillators, allowing the chipset to power on in 2 ns for highly duty-cycled operation.