e-peas details ultra low power microcontroller for energy harvesting

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

e-peas semiconductor in Belgium has developed its own ultra-low power microcontroller for a battery-free surveillance system.

The demo system combines the e-peas AEM10941 power management PMIC, which is designed specifically for solar cells and the AEM30940 PMIC for RF-based energy harvesting, along with a new RF antenna design. These power the EDMS105N 32bit microcontroller developed by e-peas with the lowest active power in the industry.

The 24MHz ARM Cortex-M0 controller aimed at s industrial IoT, building automation and smart city implementations. With highly efficient built-in inductive buck converters and LDOs for reduced BOM or improved supply stability, it draws 18µA/MHz while in active mode and has a range of sleep states, the lowest of which will take its current down to just 340nA with its real-time clock running and 8kB SRAM retention.

The chip has 256 kB of non-volatile single-cycle flash memory with instruction cache and 32 kB of SRAM memory with the 8 kB bank retention in Deepsleep mode as well as a 1MHz low power mode. Clock gating and scaling is available by peripheral oscillators with internal RC oscillators at 32.768 kHz, 1 MHz and 24 MHz with crystal drivers from 32.768 kHz up to 32 MHz.

An 8-channel DMA controller supports coreless memory transfers while inter-peripheral signalling supports coreless peripheral communication to further reduce power consumption, as well as a 12-bit ADC with 8 channels, up to 500 kS/s, 8-data FIFO, accumulation and averaging, LP mode for low sample rate and low power consumption as well as a rail-to-rail analog comparator with VDD scaler.

There are four 32-bit Multi-Function timers with two compare/capture channels, one real time clock both calendar and millisecond counters and a 32-bit Watchdog timer. For security there is a 128-bit AES module with ECB, CBC and CTR mode support and a hardware TRNG based on clock drift

“The release of our EDMS105N MCU is the culmination of many years of in-depth research and development work, and we are excited to see how extensive an impact it will have on the IoT sector in the years ahead,” said Geoffroy Gossethe, CEO and co-founder of e-peas. “This is the first of a series of announcements that are going to take us towards being a one-stop shop for all the key IC components needed for extremely low power systems.”

The RF energy harvesting antenna developed with Ignion in Spain is a tenth the size of a standard off-the-shelf component but can still be used for any band and for any device form factor with a proper matching network design to harvest energy at all frequencies within the 0.4GHz to 10.6GHz range.

Integrated alongside the AEM30940, AEM30330 or AEM30300 radio frequency ambient energy managers (AEMs) the antenna can capture energy from a distance of up to 17 meters when using a 1W source and achieves an energy capturing range of 31 meters when using a 3W source. Energy can be captured from any direction, as the antenna is orientation independent.

The e-peas antenna will be added to the company’s evaluation kits, allowing engineers to experiment with all the key elements on an intuitive platform, before ordering them in bundle pack with their AEMs. The antenna is fully optimized for pick-and-place manufacturing automation assembly, making it easy to install into all devices and keeping production cost down.

“This antenna is another vital piece of hardware that we can now present to our customer base. This sees us continue our evolution from being a component supplier towards becoming a full-scale solutions provider,” said Christian Ferrier, chief marketing officer at e-peas.

“Our CES demonstration will give us the opportunity to provide an international audience with more details on the full breadth of our product offering, as it continues to expand and develop,” said Gossethe. “It will underline our capacity to serve the market with comprehensive solutions for battery-free infrastructure, covering not only the power management, but also the data processing and sensing aspects. This signifies another important step in e-peas’ progression as the leader in energy autonomous edge processing and sensing applications.”

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