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An on-die ultra-low voltage DC-DC step-up converter with voltage doubling LC-tank

Jayaweera, H. M. P. C.
Pathirana, W. P. M. R.
Muhtaroglu, Ali
In this paper we report the design, characterization and verification of a novel on-die ultra-low voltage DC-DC converter circuit for energy harvester applications in 0.18 mu m complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology. The circuit self-starts, does not use off-chip components, and is thus suitable for use in highly integrated low cost systems. The first version of the design has a five-stage charge-pump stimulated by an oscillator with two center-tap inductors. It is validated on a test chip that this converter can boost 0.25 V-1.7 V for a 60 k Omega load with 15.5% maximum efficiency. The center-tap implementation leads to a 38% area reduction compared to the conventional four planar inductors. The proposed second version of the DC-DC design has a modified LC-tank with center-tap and planar hybrid inductors, which leads to a simulated step up from 0.2 V input to 1.65 V output for a 45 k Omega load with 35% maximum efficiency. The new boost implementation is hence expected to improve both power efficiency and output power capacity significantly compared to the first design, at a cost of a 31% layout area growth. The second revision in addition provides a 15% chip area reduction compared to the conventional four planar-inductor approach.