Ultra-Low Power Transceiver for Bluetooth 5 Operates on 0.8 V Supply Voltage

Imec in tandem with Renesas has introduced a low-voltage (0.8V) ultra-low-power Bluetooth 5 transceiver for IoT applications, at the 2018 International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco (US). A low supply voltage of 0.8 V enables enables a longer battery life (up to 50% improvement).

In the Internet of Things (IoT), numerous tiny sensor nodes are embedded in our environment. Reducing the power consumption and enabling operation at low supply voltage of IoT radio transceivers is key to enable reliable multi-year battery life of the billions of IoT devices in our environment. Furthermore, new applications are empowered by reducing power consumption and supply voltage, such as leave-behind sensors or wearables.

Imec, together with Renesas, developed a fully-integrated, highly energy efficient BT5 transceiver which showcases the best RX figure-of-merit (FoM) and the lowest supply voltage among the state-of-the-art (0.8 V). A low supply voltage of 0.8 V is beneficial because it extends battery life by up to 50%, reduces the complexity of the power management unit, and allows the use of a wider range of energy sources such as energy harvesters.

The transceiver consists of a novel phase-tracking RX, a digital TX based on an all-digital PLL (ADPLL) and a PHY-layer digital baseband. A hybrid loop filter enhances interference tolerance, in conjunction with precise frequency control enabled by the ADPLL. The receiver fronted achieves a sensitivity of -95 dBm, while consuming only 2.3 mW (non-duty-cycled) at 0.8 V.  The transceiver chip is implemented in 40nm CMOS, with a core area of only 0.8 mm2, including on-chip matching.

Another low power Bluetooth IC was introduced at the 2018 International Solid-State Circuits Conference yesterday. Click here to learn more about it.