Energy Efficient Design for Deep Sub-micron CMOS VLSIs
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Over the past decade, low power, energy efficient VLSI design has been the focal point of active research and development. The rapid technology scaling, the growing integration capacity, and the mounting active and leakage power dissipation are contributing to the growing complexity of modern VLSI design. Careful power planning on all design levels is required. This dissertation tackles the low-power, low-energy challenges in deep sub-micron technologies on the architecture and circuit levels. Voltage scaling is one of the most efficient ways for reducing power and energy. For ultra-low voltage operation, a new circuit technique which allows bulk CMOS circuits to work in the sub-0. 5V supply territory is presented. The threshold voltage of the slow PMOS transistor is controlled dynamically to get a lower threshold voltage during the active mode. Due to the reduced threshold voltage, switching speed becomes faster while active leakage current is increased. A technique to dynamically manage active leakage current is presented. Energy reduction resulting from using the proposed structure is demonstrated through simulations of different circuits with different levels of complexity. As technology scales, the mounting leakage current and degraded noise immunity impact performance especially that of high performance dynamic circuits. Dual threshold technology shows a good potential for leakage reduction while meeting performance goals. A model for optimally selecting threshold voltages and transistor sizes in wide fan-in dynamic circuits is presented. On the circuit level, a novel circuit level technique which handles the trade-off between noise immunity and energy dissipation for wide fan-in dynamic circuits is presented. Energy efficiency of the proposed wide fan-in dynamic circuit is further enhanced through efficient low voltage operation. Another direct consequence of technology scaling is the growing impact of interconnect parasitics and process variations on performance. Traditionally, worst case process, parasitics, and environmental conditions are considered. Designing for worst case guarantees a fail-safe operation but requires a large delay and voltage margins. This large margin can be recovered if the design can adapt to the actual silicon conditions. Dynamic voltage scaling is considered a key enabler in reducing such margin. An on-chip process identifier to recover the margin required due to process variations is described. The proposed architecture adjusts supply voltage using a hybrid between the one-time voltage setting and the continuous monitoring modes of operation. The interconnect impact on delay is minimized through a novel adaptive voltage scaling architecture. The proposed system recovers the large delay and voltage margins required by conventional systems by closely tracking the actual critical path at anytime. By tracking the actual critical path, the proposed system is robust and more energy efficient compared to both the conventional open-loop and closed-loop systems.