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Voltage Sensing Using an Asynchronous Charge-to-Digital Converter for Energy-Autonomous Environments

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Reza Ramezani, Professor Alex Yakovlev, Dr Fei Xia, Dr Julian Murphy, Dr Delong Shang


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In future systems with relatively unreliable and unpredictable energy sources such as harvesters, the system power supply may become non-deterministic. For energy effective operations, Vdd is an important parameter in any meaningful system control mechanism. Reliable and accurate on-chip voltage sensors are therefore indispensible for the power and computation management of such systems. Existing voltage sensing methods are not suitable because they usually require a stable and known reference (voltage, current, time, frequency, etc.), which is difficult to obtain in this environment. This paper describes an autonomous reference-free voltage sensor designed using an asynchronous counter powered by the charge on a capacitor and a small controller. Unlike existing methods, the voltage information is directly generated as a digital code. The sensor, fabricated in the 180 nm technology node, was tested successfully through performing measurements over the voltage range from 1.8 V down to 0.8 V.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ramezani R, Yakovlev A, Xia F, Murphy J, Shang D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: IEEE Journal on Emerging and Selected Topics in Circuits and Systems (JETCAS)

Year: 2013

Volume: 3

Issue: 1

Pages: 35-44

Print publication date: 07/03/2013

ISSN (print): 2156-3357

ISSN (electronic): 2156-3365

Publisher: IEEE


DOI: 10.1109/JETCAS.2013.2242776


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Funder referenceFunder name
EP/G066728/1EPSRC through the Holistic