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Ultralow-Power Operation in Subthreshold Regimes Applying Clockless Logic

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7 Author(s)
Jorgenson, R.D. ; Camgian Microsyst., Maitland, FL, USA ; Sorensen, L. ; Leet, D. ; Hagedorn, M.S.
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Energy performance requirements are causing designers of next-generation systems to explore approaches to lowest possible power consumption. Subthreshold operation is being examined to stretch low-power circuit designs beyond the normal modes of operation, with the potential for large energy savings. Some of the challenges to be overcome, like 10-100× performance penalties, are being addressed by research into parallelism. However, the uncertainty in timing generated by operating in subthreshold represents a major challenge to overcome. In this paper, first, we will introduce some background information on digital logic subthreshold operation, then provide some background on clockless logic design approaches giving a brief overview of some of the characteristics of the different design styles and focusing on NULL convention logic. Next, we will examine the application of that clockless logic approach to a military system, reviewing the background of the experiment, factors considered in the comparison, and then summarizing the results of the comparisons. Finally, an overview of additional research and development that will be needed to make the technique available to subthreshold designers is presented.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:98 ,  Issue: 2 )