A millimeter-scale energy-autonomous sensor system with stacked battery and solar cells

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An 8.75 mm3 microsystem targeting temperature sensing achieves zero-net-energy operation using energy harvesting and ultra-low-power circuit techniques. A 200 nW sensor measures temperature with-1.6°C/+3°C accuracy at a rate of 10 samples/sec. A 28 pJ/cycle, 0.4 V, 72 kHz ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller processes temperature data using a 3.3 fW leakage per bit SRAM. Two 1 mm2 solar cells and a thin-film Li battery power the microsystem through an integrated power management unit. The complete microsystem consumes 7.7 μ W when active and enters a 550 pW data-retentive standby mode between temperature measurements. The microsystem can process temperature data hourly for 5 years using only the initial energy stored in the battery. This lifetime is extended indefinitely using energy harvesting to recharge the battery, enabling energy-autonomous operation. © 1966-2012 IEEE.