Rohm Semiconductor and imec to collaborate on ultra-low-power radio

April 07, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Nanoelectronics research center imec and Rohm Semiconductor have entered into a strategic partnership for research collaboration on ultra-low power (ULP) radio technology for small battery-operated wireless devices.

In current short-range radios, the Power Amplifier (PA) typically uses around 50% of the total power consumption of the system, while the Phase-Locked Loop (PLL) is responsible for another 30-40% of the power consumption. While a low power PA can contribute to the low power consumption of transmission only, a low power PLL can contribute to both the low power consumption of transmission and reception.

As a member of imec’s ULP wireless systems programme, researchers from ROHM will closely collaborate with imec’s research team at Holst Centre, to jointly develop RF technology components that enable significant reduction of the power consumption of the complete radio system. By combining innovative architectures, advanced ULP design IP and efficient low power circuits, imec’s ULP radios achieve performance and reduce power consumption by between three to ten times that of today’s radios. imec’s ULP high-performance radios are compliant with state-of-the-art wireless standards, such as Bluetooth Low Energy and ZigBee.

Koji Taniuchi, Unit leader at Incubation Unit, R&D Headquarters, within Rohm, comments, "We [will] further improve on our current strengths in the low power wireless communication LSI, by integrating a low power consumption PLL that is co-developed with imec. We expect that in the near future these results become standard technology in wireless sensor networks."

imec; www.imec.be / Holst Centre; www.holstcentre.com

Rohm; www.rohm.com