Overview of low-power ULSI circuit techniques

Tadahiro Kuroda, Takayasu Sakurai

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This paper surveys low-power circuit techniques for CMOS ULSIs. For many years a power supply voltage of 5 V was employed. During this period power dissipation of CMOS ICs as a whole increased four-fold every three years. It is predicted that by the year 2000 the power dissipation of high-end ICs will exceed the practical limits of ceramic packages, even if the supply voltage can be feasibly reduced. CMOS ULSls now face a power dissipation crisis. A new philosophy of circuit design is required. The power dissipation can be minimized by reducing: 1) supply voltage, 2) load capacitance, or 3) switching activity. Reducing the supply voltage brings a quadratic improvement in power dissipation. This simple solution, however, comes at a cost in processing speed. We investigate the proposed methods of compensating for the increased delay at low voltage. Reducing the load capacitance is the principal area of interest because it contributes to the improvement of both power dissipation and circuit speed. Pass-transistor logic is attracting attention as it requires fewer transistors and exhibits less stray capacitance than conventional CMOS static circuits. Variations in its circuit topology as well as a logic synthesis method are presented and studied. A great deal of research effort has been directed towards studying every portion of LSI circuits. The research achievements are categorized in this paper by parameters associated with the source of CMOS power dissipation and power use in a chip.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHigh-Performance System Design
Subtitle of host publicationCircuits and Logic
PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons Inc.
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780470544846
ISBN (Print)0780347161, 9780780347168
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes


  • CMOS
  • Energy-delay product
  • Low-power
  • Low-voltage
  • LSI
  • Pass-transistor logic
  • Power-delay product

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Computer Science(all)


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