IP builds ultra-low quiescent-current regulator for IoT Systems-on-Chip at 55 nm

July 20, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
As they may operate only 1% of their battery life in active mode, the major challenge of IoT applications becomes lowering the power consumption during the deep-sleep mode.

Circuit architects face the challenge of achieving a power consumption as low as few micro-amperes, while preserving data retention and supplying always-on functions in view of system wake-up. With this in mind, Dolphin Integration configured qLR-Aubrey, its ultra-low quiescent-current linear regulator. With 150 nA of quiescent current and driving up to 1 mA, this regulator allows system architects to take advantage of the lowest retention voltage for their power island, as low as 0.55V, while ensuring efficient voltage regulation of logic in retention.

Key features include:

Quiescent current of 150 nA

Maximum Output current of 1 mA, enabling supply islands in data retention mode as well as an always-on domain with a slow RTC

Advanced views for enabling Mode Transition Checks (MTC)

Over-voltage Protection Module (OPM) for enabling direct connection to a Li-Ion battery.

Availability at TSMC and SMIC 55 nm and easily re-targetable from 180 nm to 40 nm at most foundries.

qLR-Aubrey enhances the overall performance of the construct of a Retention Alternating Regulator (RAR): the RAR features the benefit of the qLR-Aubrey for retention mode, while supporting a load with high-current through its switching regulator during active mode. Mode transitions then are ensured by the embedded Regulator Control Unit, which ensures safe transitions between the low-power and normal modes.

Associated Low-power Libraries, which features low-voltage capabilities for retention of main-stem islands and for always-on islands, operate down to 0.55V, thus allowing an additional progress toward power reduction.

Dolphin Integration; www.dolphin-integration.com