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Worst-case design uses extreme process corner conditions which rarely occur. This limits maximum speed specifications and costs additional power due to area over-dimensioning during synthesis. We present a new design synthesis strategy for digital CMOS circuits that makes use of forward body biasing. Our approach renders consistently a better performance-per-area ratio by constraining circuit over-dimensioning without sacrificing circuit performance. An in-depth analysis of the body-bias-driven design theory is provided. It is complemented by an algorithm that enables fast reconstruction of the area-clock period tradeoff curve of the design. We validated these new concepts through industrial processor designs in 90-nm low-power CMOS. For standard- Vth implementations, we observed performance-per-area improvements up to 40%, area and leakage reductions up to 30%, and dynamic power savings of up to 10% without performance penalties as a benefit from our proposed body-bias-driven design strategy. The benefits are larger for high-Vth implementations. In this case, we observed performance-per-area improvements up to 90%, area and leakage reductions up to 40%, and dynamic power savings of up to 25% without performance penalties.
Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:20 , Issue: 1 )
Date of Publication: Jan. 2012