STMicroelectronics Announced Ultra-Low-Power Technology Platform for 8-bit and 32-bit Microcontrollers
STMicroelectronics, a world leader in microcontrollers, has announced details of a new ultra-low-power technology platform for building a range of 8-bit and 32-bit microcontrollers, which will enable future generations of electronic products to consume less power, meet evolving energy-efficiency standards, and operate for longer from their batteries. Meeting these increasing demands requires looking at all aspects of microcontroller design and process technology to maximize improvements in all areas.
This new platform is built on a 130nm process, which ST has further optimized with ultra-low-leakage transistors for logic functions, low-voltage transistors for analog functions, innovative low-power embedded memory, new low-voltage low-power standard peripherals and an innovative power-management architecture. Together, these enhancements dramatically reduce dynamic and static power consumption, enabling forthcoming families of microcontrollers delivering better performance per Watt than the most frugal low-power devices on the market today.
ST will introduce the first new microcontrollers, the STM8L and STM32L, based on this ultra-low-power platform later in 2009. These will be the start of new ultra-low-power product paths for the 8-bit STM8S and 32-bit STM32F families achieving dynamic power consumption as low as 150µA/MHz from Flash, and HALT-mode power consumption as low as 300nA while maintaining SRAM content and registers. The first STM8L products are already sampling to key OEMs.
Within this new technology platform, 130nm digital transistors optimized for low leakage reduce the microcontroller’s current draw in normal operation as well as in power-saving modes. In addition, the innovative, low-power embedded non-volatile memory reduces the energy consumed to handle application data. The enhanced analog transistors are functional down to 1.65V, enabling low-voltage operation of the on-chip analog circuitry. The power-management architecture also saves power in all modes through techniques such as low-voltage operation of the core and ultra-fast 4-microseconds wake-up from low-power states. Completing the platform, dedicated digital libraries and a new low-power system-on-chip (SoC) design flow will enable ST to expand its ultra-low-power microcontroller families and deliver new devices to market quickly.
“The new STM8L and STM32L microcontrollers built on this platform will naturally extend the STM8S and STM32F families, which already include several product paths optimized for accessibility, high performance, and flexible connectivity,” said Jim Nicholas, General Manager of ST’s Microcontrollers Division. “Product developers will use the new devices to take advantage of today’s most advanced and efficient processor architectures in fast-growing markets such as portable medical devices and e-metering, as well as emerging opportunities where long battery life, small battery sizes, or battery-less operation are required.”
Other products to benefit from the new 8-bit and 32-bit MCUs will include alarm systems, wireless sensors, touch-sensing modules, and portable equipment such as personal healthcare devices, handheld game terminals, remote-control units, GPS devices, personal sports equipment, and mobile accessories.
The STM8S and STM32F families solve developers’ needs for efficient processor architectures delivering low cost, low power and optimum design flexibility. Each uses an advanced processor core, such as the 32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 processor of the STM32F family, and peripheral functions are shared between both families to promote design flexibility and software re-use. The available devices within each family are pin compatible, which enhances designers’ freedom to optimize pin count and peripherals for each design. Both families also make best use of established power-saving methods including reduced-power sleep and idle modes, fast wake-up times to reduce wasted clock cycles, and low-voltage operation.