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Ultra-Low Power Analog-to-Digital Converter with Nano-electromechanical Relays

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Ultra-Low Power Analog-to-Digital Converter with Nano-electromechanical Relays

Introduction
An Analog to Digital converter (ADC) is the most important interface for processing the acquired sensor data.
The energy efficiency of mainstream ADCs is degraded by leakage and high energy density of CMOS transistors.
A novel back end of line (BEOL) Nano-electromechanical (NEM) relay based ADC eliminates the leakage and achieves 87% lower energy consumption than state of the art.

Back End Of Line (BEOL)
In the integrated circuit fabrication process, metal wires and VIAs are used as interconnections for connecting millions of transistors.
Recently developed air gap technology introduces air gaps between metal layers, which enables the spatial movement of the metal wires.
Hence a mechanical switch using metal layers can be designed and implemented on the back side of the transistor chip.
Nano Electro-Mechanical (NEM) Relay
The relay is turned on by the electrostatic force generated between the metals when a voltage difference is applied across them.

Tuning Pull-in Voltages(VPI) for ADC comparators
The ADC comparators require different VPI relays.
The most efficient way to do this is by adjusting the inter-metal VIA locations.
This eliminates the need for reference generation in conventional transistor designs.

BEOL NEM Rely 4-bit Flash ADC
The schematic shows the analog input (VA) goes through a standard sample/hold sub-circuit to feed the comparators with multi VPI relays.
The outputs are then converted from thermometer-coded (TC) to standard binary output.
Cadence Virtuoso Spectre simulation of the ADC on 2.5MHz clock frequency using a Verilog-A behavioural description model developed for the BEOL relay from Coventor MEMS+ analysis.

Conclusion
The future smart city data converter designs can benefit from the BEOL NEM relay to be more energy efficient. In conclusion, it has the following properties:
Ideal switch with zero Leakage, high turn on/off ratio;
No additional cost as it is compatible with current CMOS process;
Ultra-low power consumption from the relay itself and the design methodology in ADC.

Ultra-Low Power Analog-to-Digital Converter with Nano-electromechanical Relays

Introduction
An Analog to Digital converter (ADC) is the most important interface for processing the acquired sensor data.
The energy efficiency of mainstream ADCs is degraded by leakage and high energy density of CMOS transistors.
A novel back end of line (BEOL) Nano-electromechanical (NEM) relay based ADC eliminates the leakage and achieves 87% lower energy consumption than state of the art.

Back End Of Line (BEOL)
In the integrated circuit fabrication process, metal wires and VIAs are used as interconnections for connecting millions of transistors.
Recently developed air gap technology introduces air gaps between metal layers, which enables the spatial movement of the metal wires.
Hence a mechanical switch using metal layers can be designed and implemented on the back side of the transistor chip.
Nano Electro-Mechanical (NEM) Relay
The relay is turned on by the electrostatic force generated between the metals when a voltage difference is applied across them.

Tuning Pull-in Voltages(VPI) for ADC comparators
The ADC comparators require different VPI relays.
The most efficient way to do this is by adjusting the inter-metal VIA locations.
This eliminates the need for reference generation in conventional transistor designs.

BEOL NEM Rely 4-bit Flash ADC
The schematic shows the analog input (VA) goes through a standard sample/hold sub-circuit to feed the comparators with multi VPI relays.
The outputs are then converted from thermometer-coded (TC) to standard binary output.
Cadence Virtuoso Spectre simulation of the ADC on 2.5MHz clock frequency using a Verilog-A behavioural description model developed for the BEOL relay from Coventor MEMS+ analysis.

Conclusion
The future smart city data converter designs can benefit from the BEOL NEM relay to be more energy efficient. In conclusion, it has the following properties:
Ideal switch with zero Leakage, high turn on/off ratio;
No additional cost as it is compatible with current CMOS process;
Ultra-low power consumption from the relay itself and the design methodology in ADC.

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