A Predictably Low-Leakage ASIC Design Style Academic Article uri icon


  • In this paper, we describe a new low-leakage standard cell based application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) design methodology. This design is based on the use of modified standard cells, designed to reduce leakage currents (by almost two orders of magnitude) in standby mode and also allow precise estimation of leakage current. For each cell in a standard cell library, two low-leakage variants of the cell are designed. If the inputs of a cell during the standby mode of operation are such that the output has a high value, we minimize the leakage in the pull-down network, and similarly we minimize leakage in the pull-up network if the output has a low value. In this manner, two low-leakage variants of each standard cell are obtained. While technology mapping a circuit, we determine the particular variant to utilize in each instance, so as to minimize leakage of the final mapped design. We have performed experiments to compare placed-and-routed area, leakage and delays of this new methodology against Multithreshold CMOS (MTCMOS) and a regular standard cell based design style. The results show that our new methodology (which we call the "HL" methodology) has better speed and area characteristics than MTCMOS implementations. The leakage current for HL designs can be dramatically lower than the worst-case leakage of MTCMOS based designs, and two orders of magnitude lower than the leakage of traditional standard cells. An ASIC design implemented in MTCMOS would require the use of separate power and ground supplies for latches and combinational logic, while our methodology does away with such a requirement. Another advantage of our methodology is that the leakage is precisely estimable, in contrast with MTCMOS. Our primary contribution in this paper is a new low leakage design style for static CMOS designs. In addition, we also discuss techniques to reduce leakage in dynamic (domino logic) designs. © 2007 IEEE.

author list (cited authors)

  • Jayakumar, N., & Khatri, S. P.

citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • March 2007