The 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to the three scientists who – with distinct contributions over several years – developed lithium-ion batteries: John B. Goodenough (The University of Texas at Austin, USA), M. Stanley Whittingham (Binghamton University, State University of New York, USA), and Akira Yoshino (Asahi Kasei Corporation, Tokyo, Japan Meijo University, Nagoya, Japan). The official press release from The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences briefly summarizes the history of lithium-ion batteries development, a key achievement fueling today’s fastest-growing electronics applications such as smartphones, electric vehicles and IoT.
A 6.88 µW/MHz MCU
But even with Li-Ion batteries, power consumption is still a sensitive issue for IoT devices, and the race to reduce processors’ power needs continues. The latest announcement is this area comes from German IP provider Racyics, that has developed a 100MHz Arm Cortex-M4F microcontroller test chip with 84kB of SRAM, which demonstrated an efficiency of 6.88 µW/MHz. The test chip is built with GlobalFoundries’ 22FDX process platform, that enabled high efficiency thanks to its adaptive body bias (ABB) tunability. With this feature, transistor threshold voltage can be tuned to match the required combination of energy efficiency, performance, area, and reliability. Racyics’ design IP enables the creation of circuits with operation down to 0.4V by holistically considering process, supply voltage and temperature inputs.