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Nanoamps matter in extreme low-power design

Posted: 11 Aug 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:low power design? low power technologies? nanoamps low power?

The demand for extremely low-power technologies was born from necessity, starting with the fabrication process and moving all the way to the application areas. Energy-sensitive applications, in particular, are now driving demand for unprecedented hours of service from a single battery, measured in years rather than days or months. Meeting this demand requires integrated microcontrollers that have not only been developed in synergy with the characteristics of battery power, but with an understanding of how the application will operate in order to achieve 10, 15 or even 20 years of operation without replacing the primary cell.

This level of extremely low-power operation demands a new way of looking at applications. Traditionally, the complexity in these applications has been in analyzing the power usage from a convenient viewpoint, making assumptions about the use-case, the application and the power source to generate a "typical" power envelope.

However, to achieve 20 years of service from a single-cell battery, for instance, the application needs to draw less power than the cell�s own self-discharge rate, which makes every nanoamp used a critical contributor to the overall power budget.

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