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This paper presents an energy detection Impulse Radio Ultra-Wideband (IR-UWB) receiver for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) applications. An Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) consisting of a 3-5 GHz analog front-end, a timing circuit and a high speed baseband controller is implemented in a 90 nm standard CMOS technology. A Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) is employed as a reconfigurable back-end, enabling adaptive baseband algorithms and ranging estimations. The proposed architecture is featured by high flexibility that adopts a wide range of pulse rate (512 kHz-33 MHz), processing gain (0-18 dB), correlation schemes, synchronization algorithms, and modulation schemes (PPM/OOK). The receiver prototype was fabricated and measured. The power consumption of the ASIC is 16.3 mW at 1 V power supply, which promises a minimal energy consumption of 0.5 nJ/bit. The whole link is evaluated together with a UWB RFID tag. Bit error rate (BER) measurement displays a sensitivity of -79 dBm at 10 Mb/s with 10-3 BER achieved by the proposed receiver, corresponding to an operation distance over 10 meters under the FCC regulation.