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Posted: Jun 06, 2011
SuVolta Announces PowerShrinkTM Planar CMOS Platform to Dramatically Reduce Integrated Circuit Power Consumption
(Nanowerk News) SuVolta, Inc. today introduced its PowerShrink™ low-power platform. The SuVolta PowerShrink platform reduces the power consumption of CMOS ICs by 2x or more while maintaining performance and improving yields. SuVolta and Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited also jointly announced today that Fujitsu has licensed SuVolta's innovative PowerShrink™ low-power technology.
The PowerShrink low-power platform consists of SuVolta's Deeply Depleted Channel™ (DDC) CMOS transistor technology as well as DDC-optimized circuits and design techniques that take full advantage of the DDC transistor properties. The platform enables supply voltage reductions of 30 percent or more -- cutting active power consumption in half (or more) -- while maintaining performance, and can reduce leakage power consumption by 80 percent (or more). These benefits apply across a wide range of integrated circuit (IC) products, including processors, SRAMs, and SOCs that are critical to today's mobile products.
"In a world where mobile applications increasingly dominate, power and cost are the primary limiters of scaling semiconductor process technologies. SuVolta has developed an innovative way to significantly reduce CMOS transistor active and leakage power. By tightening threshold voltage variability while maintaining performance at lower supply voltage, SuVolta's platform extends the useful life of bulk planar CMOS processes and the products they enable and negates the need for costly, complex technologies like EUV lithography, FD-SOI or FinFETs. Furthermore, the technology enables companies to preserve and extend the legacy IP blocks they have spent years developing," said Dr. T.J. Rodgers, founder, president, CEO, and a director of Cypress Semiconductor.
SuVolta has demonstrated large SRAM blocks operating below 0.5 volts, thereby confirming that the DDC transistor enables circuit functionality at far greater than 30 percent VDD scaling. This sub-0.5 volt operating voltage is among the lowest reported for 65nm CMOS technology, and is significantly lower than typical SRAM minimum operating voltages (VDD-min) of 0.8 volts and higher in conventional CMOS technologies.
Controlling power consumption is a key enabler for adding features to IC products and for scaling semiconductor process technologies. SuVolta's Deeply Depleted Channel transistor uses a unique channel structure with significant benefits for low power operation compared to conventional transistor technology. By reducing threshold voltage (VT) variation by 50 percent, the DDC transistor enables scaling of supply voltage (VDD) by 30 percent (or more) while maintaining the same system clock speed and reducing overall leakage. By increasing channel mobility, the DDC transistor increases drive current (Ieff) by 10 percent or more. In addition, the DDC transistor enables even more effective threshold voltage management through body biasing by dramatically increasing body coefficient.
"Up to this point in time, semiconductor process technology innovation has primarily focused on increasing performance. But the biggest problem in semiconductors today is not performance but power. SuVolta is solving the power impasse by significantly reducing transistor threshold voltage variation and therefore enabling supply voltage scaling," said Dr. Scott Thompson, CTO at SuVolta. "SuVolta's DDC sub-micron technology addresses threshold voltage control by limiting random and other sources of dopant fluctuation while simultaneously improving carrier mobility and reducing device capacitance so as to maintain circuit speed at much lower power."
Easily Adoptable -- Compatible with Existing Fabs and Design Flows
The SuVolta PowerShrink low-power platform is compatible with current manufacturing and design infrastructure. SuVolta's DDC transistor leverages existing CMOS design rules and process flows, and can be manufactured in existing fabs because it does not require new equipment or new materials. SuVolta's PowerShrink platform also uses conventional design tools and design flows.
SuVolta's circuits and design techniques take advantage of the unique properties of the DDC transistor to reduce power consumption further, by managing VT more effectively than possible with a conventional transistor. Adaptive body biasing can be used to correct systematic manufacturing variations, thus further decreasing VT variation and improving sort yield. Dynamic body biasing can be used to reduce temperature and aging effects, and to make power modes more effective at enabling very low power operation.
"Power consumption has become the limiting factor in the amount of functionality that can be packed into mobile computing devices like smartphones, tablets and notebooks," said Dr. Bruce McWilliams, president and CEO at SuVolta. "Lowering semiconductor power consumption has far reaching benefits for the range of applications and products that can be developed. SuVolta is very pleased to be providing the industry with a technology platform that is advancing the possibilities from continued scaling of planar, bulk CMOS technology."
About SuVolta, Inc.
SuVolta, Inc. develops and licenses semiconductor technologies that enable a significant reduction in IC power consumption while maintaining performance. Based in Silicon Valley, the team includes world-class engineers and scientists with a long history of technology development and innovation to advance the semiconductor industry. The company is backed by leading venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), August Capital and NEA. For more information visit www.suvolta.com.