CSS Mixed Signal ASIC Solutions

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Keith

Very Low Power ASICs

March 23rd, 2010 by Keith

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Lower system power comes naturally for an ASIC.  By combining separate digital and analog functions in one chip, power is automatically reduced as the capacitance between these functions is dramatically reduced.   Power reductions of 2X to 10X are possible with no sacrifice in performance.

Even more power reduction can often be achieved in an ASIC by optimizing power reduction in a trade-off with speed.  One can achieve very low power in an ASIC if high speed is not required.  This trade-off is usually not available to a significant degree in standard products as they are often a compromise of speed and power to meet the largest market segment.  Low power is an area that we specialize in at CSS.  Many of our ASIC customers have a requirement for very low power and high speed is not required.  This allows us to design their ASIC to operate at extremely low power.  Some examples are instructive.

Applications with battery power usually want to conserve power to extend the battery life.  One of our ASICs is required to operate on its battery for 20 years!  The battery is about the size of that for a PC.  Another ASIC is required to work with an operating current of 50 nano-amps.  With this extremely low current drain, the ASIC could operate on two AAA batteries for 3.5 years.

These examples illustrate that for very low power applications, an ASIC may be the only solution.  For less severe power requirements, power may be reduced to a minimum for the required speed.  This may be the case for an ASIC in a “green” application that simply strives to conserve energy by not using more energy than is necessary for the application.

If you have a need to reduce power in your electronic system, and especially if you need to significantly reduce power, a low power ASIC is an excellent way to go – it may be the only way to go.  Please give us a call or email your requirement.  We know how to lower power and will be happy to show you what can be done for your application.

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