Offering new technologies that are poised to respond to the integrated circuit design challenges of the decade.
NanoWatt Design is a technology solution provider for ultra-low voltage, low power integrated circuits.
The semiconductor industry is facing continuous demand for circuits having reduced power consumption. Extending battery life is a top priority for all designers of battery operated devices. For mobile electronics, reduced power consumption is a critical differentiator. Even in applications where AC power is readily available, designers struggle to keep device operating temperature under control and opportunities to reduce power consumption are constantly sought. Overall, power consumption is the most important driver for all segments of the semiconductor market in the foreseeable future.
- Power requirements for mobile electronics using conventional design architecture are forecast to increase 15% per year as users demand more functionality.
- Battery technology will provide at most 5% improvement annually.
- For distributed sensing, batteries considerations already dominate for cost, size, reliability, and lifetime.
- Heat dissipation is increasingly challenging. Current packages are “about the right size and weight”, and cannot be easily modified to manage heat.
The obvious way to reduce energy consumption is to reduce supply voltage. As supply voltage drops, nominal delay increases rapidly. However, delay variation increases even more rapidly. Conventional synchronous design approach is not well suited to deal with such variation. Whereas asynchronous solutions have not been adopted at 1.0 V and above, at near-threshold voltages such as 0.6V and below these same solutions are very attractive.
NanoWatt Design has a portfolio of tools targeted at reducing power consumption. This tool set is particularly applicable to low voltage microcontrollers that can off-load tasks from a general purpose processor. Such dedicated microcontrollers can be designed using a custom mix of asynchronous and synchronous architectures to optimally trade-off performance and area as needed to reduce overall energy consumption. At 0.6V and below the dominant concerns are effects of random process variation on power and performance. NanoWatt Design has unique capability to develop optimized solutions.