Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as wearable health monitors, augmented reality goggles, home automation, smart appliances, etc. are a trending topic of research. Various IoT products are thriving in the current electronics market. The IoT application needs such as portability, form factor, weight, etc. dictate the features of such devices. Small, portable, and lightweight IoT devices limit the usage of the primary energy source to a smaller rechargeable or non-rechargeable battery. As battery life and replacement time are critical issues in battery-operated or partially energy-harvested IoT devices, ultra-low-power (ULP) system on chips (SoC) are becoming a widespread solution of chip makers’ choice. Such ULP SoC requires both logic and the embedded static random access memory (SRAM) in the processor to operate at very low supply voltages. With technology scaling for bulk and FinFET devices, logic has demonstrated to operate at low minimum operating voltages (VMIN). However, due to process and temperature variation, SRAMs have higher VMIN in scaled processes that become a huge problem in designing ULP SoC cores. This chapter discusses the latest published circuits and architecture techniques to minimize the SRAM VMIN for scaled bulk and FinFET technologies and improve battery life for ULP IoT applications.
Part of the book: Green Electronics