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Low energy multi-stage level converter for sub-threshold logic

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3 Author(s)
H. Shao ; Dept. of Design Eng., Solomon Systech Ltd., Hong Kong, China ; X. Li ; C-Y. Tsui

Robustness is the main concern in the design of level converters (LCs) for sub-threshold voltage applications. Besides this, when a sub-threshold voltage is applied to the input of the LC, the output transition time of the LC is very long and the short-circuit current through the logic gates that are driven by the LC output is large. The circuit's total energy consumption increases. In this study, a novel single-stage LC that can operate robustly for sub-threshold signal is firstly presented. Based on the single-stage LC circuit, a multi-stage sub-threshold LC structure is proposed, which features similar operation robustness, and at the same time, greatly reduces the output transition time of the LC. As a result, the circuit's total energy consumption (including that of the fanout logic gates) is significantly reduced. Extensive simulations were carried out to demonstrate the operation robustness of the authors proposed multi-stage sub-threshold LC. Measurements were done on a fabricated test chip to verify the operation and demonstrate the performance improvement of the design.

Published in:

IET Computers & Digital Techniques  (Volume:5 ,  Issue: 5 )