Scientists at the University of Michigan have developed a new processor that uses just 30 picowatts during sleep mode, that's one-trillionth of a watt.
A low-power microchip developed at the University of Michigan uses 30,000 times less power in sleep mode and 10 times less in active mode than comparable chips now on the market.
The Phoenix Processor, which sets a low-power record, is intended for use in cutting-edge sensor-based devices such as medical implants, environment monitors or surveillance equipment.
The chip consumes just 30 picowatts during sleep mode. A picowatt is one-trillionth of a watt. Theoretically, the energy stored in a watch battery would be enough to run the Phoenix for 263 years.
Scott Hanson, a doctoral student in the U-M Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, will present the design June 20 at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Symposium on VLSI Circuits. Hanson jointly leads this project with Mingoo Seok, a doctoral student in the same department.
Phoenix measures one square millimeter. There's nothing special about its size, as chips in many modern sensors and electronics are one square millimeter and smaller. But Phoenix is the same size as its thin-film battery, marking a major achievement.