IEEE Transactions on VLSI Systems

Low-power circuit analysis and design based on heterojunction tunneling transistors (HETTs)

View publication


The theoretical lower limit of subthreshold swing in mosfets (60 mV/decade) significantly restricts low-voltage operation since it results in a low ON-to-OFF current ratio at low supply voltages. This paper investigates extremely low-power circuits based on new Si/SiGe heterojunction tunneling transistors (HETTs) that have a subthreshold swing of < 60 mV decade. Device characteristics, as determined through technology computer aided design tools, are used to develop a Verilog-A device model to simulate and evaluate a range of HETT-based circuits. We show that an HETT-based ring oscillator (RO) shows a 9-19 times reduction in dynamic power compared to a CMOS RO. We also explore two key differences between HETTs and traditional mosfets, namely, asymmetric current flow and increased Miller capacitance, analyze their effect on circuit behavior, and propose methods to address them. HETT characteristics have the most dramatic impact on static random access memory (SRAM) operation and we propose a novel seven-transistor HETT-based SRAM cell topology to overcome, and take advantage of, the asymmetric current flow. This new HETT SRAM design achieves 7-37 times reduction in leakage power compared to CMOS. © 1993-2012 IEEE.