Overview of Low-Power ULSI Circuit Techniques

Tadahiro KURODA  Takayasu SAKURAI  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Electronics   Vol.E78-C   No.4   pp.334-344
Publication Date: 1995/04/25
Online ISSN: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: INVITED PAPER (Special Issue on Low-Voltage, Low-Power Integrated Circuits)
LSI,  CMOS,  low-power,  low-voltage,  power-delay product,  energy-delay product,  pass-transistor logic,  

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This paper surveys low-power circuit techniques for CMOS ULSIs. For many years a power supply voltage of 5 V was employed. During this period power dissipation of CMOS ICs as a whole increased four-fold every three years. It is predicted that by the year 2000 the power dissipation of high-end ICs will exceed the practical limits of ceramic packages, even if the supply voltage can be feasibly reduced. CMOS ULSIs now face a power dissipation crisis. A new philosophy of circuit design is required. The power dissipation can be minimized by reducing: 1) supply voltage, 2) load capacitance, or 3) switching activity. Reducing the supply voltage brings a quadratic improvement in power dissipation. This simple solution, however, comes at a cost in processing speed. We investigate the proposed methods of compensating for the increased delay at low voltage. Reducing the load capacitance is the principal area of interest because it contributes to the improvement of both power dissipation and circuit speed. Pass-transistor logic is attracting attention as it requires fewer transistors and exhibits less stray capacitance than conventional CMOS static cicuits. Variations in its circuit topology as well as a logic synthesis method are presented and studied. A great deal of research effort has been directed towards studying every portion of LSI circuits. The research achievements are categorized in this paper by parameters associated with the source of CMOS power dissipation and power use in a chip.