ROHM and imec join forces for ultra-low power radio R&D

April 8, 2014. Nanoelectronics research center imec and ROHM Semiconductor Co. Ltd. have announced that they have entered into a strategic partnership for research collaboration on ultra-low power (ULP) radio technology for small battery-operated wireless devices.

In current short-range radios, the power amplifier typically uses around 50% of the total power consumption of the system, while the phase-locked loop (PLL) is responsible for another 30 to 40% of the power consumption. While a low-power PA can contribute to the low power consumption of transmission only, a low-power PLL can contribute to both the low power consumption of transmission and reception.

As a member of imec’s ULP wireless systems program, ROHM will provide researchers who will closely collaborate with imec’s research team at Holst Centre to jointly develop RF technology components that enable significant reduction of the power consumption of the complete radio system. By combining innovative architectures, advanced ULP design IP, and efficient low-power circuits, imec’s ULP radios achieve best-in-class performance and reduce power consumption between three to ten times that of today’s radios. Moreover, imec’s ULP high-performance radios are compliant with state-of-the-art wireless standards, such as Bluetooth Low Energy and ZigBee.

“Combining application, circuits, and technology know-how, imec/Holst Centre 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 Centre. “We are pleased that ROHM Semiconductor has joined our ULP wireless systems R&D program. This partnership reinforces the value of our research to leading industrial semiconductor companies.”

“ROHM Semiconductor is committed to supplying high quality wireless products to the market with ever increasing power efficiency,” said Koji Taniuchi, unit leader at Incubation Unit, R&D Headquarters, within ROHM Co. Ltd. “We further improve on our current strengths in the low-power wireless communication LSI, by integrating a low-power-consumption PLL that is codeveloped with imec. We expect that in the near future these results become standard technology in wireless sensor networks.”

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