Relaxation oscillator could save power in IoT

November 28, 2018 // By Peter Clarke
A relaxation oscillator used as a picowatt wake-up timer could save power in rarely-active IoT sensor nodes 1000-fold, according to researchers from National Universtiy of Singapore.

The circuit was developed using sub-threshold voltages by researchers from the Green IC group at the National University of Singapore.

"This is a major step towards accelerating the development of IoT infrastructure, and paves the way for the aggressive miniaturisation of IoT devices for long-lasting operations," said team leader Associate Professor Massimo Alioto from the department of electrical and computer engineering at the NUS.

The circuit was reported under the title: A sub‐leakage picrowatt-power hertz‐range relaxation oscillator operating with a 0.3V to 1.8V unregulated supply at the 2018 Symposia on VLSI Technology and Circuits in Honolulu, Hawaii.

It can achieve slow and infrequent wake-up using a half picofarad on-chip capacitor with an on chip area of 40 micron by 40 micron.

The research was conducted in collaboration with Associate Professor Paolo Crovetti from the Politecnico di Torino in Italy.

The team is currently working on energy-autonomous silicon systems with power consumption ranging from picowatts to sub-nanowatts.

Related links and articles:

www.nus.edu.sg

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