The emerging nanoscale technologies inherently offer transistors working with low voltage levels and are optimized for low-power operation. However, these technologies lack quality electronic components vital for reliable analog and/or mixed-signal design (e.g., resistor, capacitor, etc.) as they are predominantly used in high-performance digital designs. Moreover, the voltage headroom, ESD properties, the maximum current densities, parasitic effects, process fluctuations, aging effects, and many other parameters are superior in verified-by-time CMOS processes using planar transistors. This is the main reason, why low-voltage, low-power high-performance analog and mixed-signal circuits are still being designed in mature process nodes. In the proposed chapter, we bring an overview of main challenges and design techniques effectively applicable for ultra-low-voltage and low-power analog integrated circuits in nanoscale technologies. New design challenges and limitations linked with a low value of the supply voltage, the process fluctuation, device mismatch, and other effects are discussed. In the later part of the chapter, conventional and unconventional design techniques (bulk-driven approach, floating-gate, dynamic threshold, etc.) to design analog integrated circuits towards ultra-low-voltage systems and applications are described. Examples of ultra-low-voltage analog ICs blocks (an operational amplifier, a voltage comparator, a charge pump, etc.) designed in a standard CMOS technology using the unconventional design approach are presented.
Part of the book: Integrated Circuits/Microchips
This chapter deals with digital method of calibration for analog integrated circuits as a means of extending its lifetime and reliability, which consequently affects the reliability the analog electronic system as a whole. The proposed method can compensate for drift in circuit’s electrical parameters, which occurs either in a long term due to aging and electrical stress or it is rather more acute, being caused by process, voltage and temperature variations. The chapter reveals the implementation of ultra-low voltage on-chip system of digitally calibrated variable-gain amplifier (VGA), fabricated in CMOS 130 nm technology. It operates reliably under supply voltage of 600mV with 10% variation, in temperature range from −20°C to 85°C. Simulations suggest that the system will preserve its parameters for at least 10 years of operation. Experimental verification over 10 packaged integrated circuit (IC) samples shows the input offset voltage of VGA is suppressed in range of 13μV to 167μV. With calibration the VGA closely meets its nominally designed essential specifications as voltage gain or bandwidth. Digital calibration is comprehensively compared to its widely used alternative, Chopper stabilization through its implementation for the same VGA.
Part of the book: Practical Applications in Reliability Engineering