IMEC, Rohm Research Ultra Low Power Radio

08 April 2014

Rohm Co. Ltd. (Kyoto, Japan) has joined forces with nanoelectronics research center IMEC (Leuven, Belgium), for research collaboration on ultra-low power (ULP) radio technology for battery-operated wireless devices.

In most short-range radios the power amplifier typically uses about 50 percent of the total power consumption of the system and the phase-locked loop (PLL) used to control clock and reference frequencies is responsible for 30 to 40 percent, IMEC said. Although the PA only effects power consumption during transmission of data these two areas represent obvious targets for reducing power consumption.

Engineers from Rohm will be collaborating with IMEC's research team at Holst Center in Eindhoven, The Netherlands to develop components that enable a significant reduction of the power consumption of the complete radio system.

IMEC's ULP radios reduce power consumption by a factor of between three and ten compared with commercially available radio systems but are still suitable for use with wireless standards, such as Bluetooth Low Energy and ZigBee.

"Combining application, circuits and technology know-how, IMEC, Holst Center provides a complete solution, shortening the time-to-market for our industrial partners," said Harmke de Groot, program director for ULP wireless technologies at IMEC, Holst Center.

"We further improve on our current strengths in the low power wireless communication LSI, by integrating a low-power consumption PLL that is co-developed with IMEC. We expect that in the near future these results become standard technology in wireless sensor networks," said Koji Taniuchi, unit leader at the incubation unit, of the R&D unit at Rohm.

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