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A 200 μm by 100 μm Smart Submersible System With an Average Current Consumption of 1.3nA and a Compatible Voltage Converter

: Funke, D.A.; Hillger, P.; Oehm, J.; Mayr, P.; Straczek, L.; Pohl, N.; McCaskill, J.S.


IEEE transactions on circuits and systems. 1, Fundamental theory and applications 64 (2017), No.12, pp.3013-3024
ISSN: 1057-7122
ISSN: 1549-8328
Journal Article
Fraunhofer FHR ()

In this paper, we present a novel microscale “Smart Dust” type system designed to operate in aqueous solutions, with a volume of 200 μm × 100 μm × 35 μm, called a lablet. The lablet contains a 20Hz low-power clock generator, a sensor, electric actuators, and a simple finite state machine to implement a predefined response to the sensor input. It is designed to be rechargeable and to communicate via local contacts through aqueous solution either between lablets or with a docking station chip. The system operates with supply voltages ranging from 0.3 to 1.8V and is thus suitable to be supplied from a capacitor with decreasing voltage. An input rectifier allows powering the lablet independent of polarity. The average current consumption of the system was measured to be 1.3nA when supplied from a capacitor with an initial voltage of 1.8V. The small system scale allows the investigation of “pourable electronics”, a concept where large quantities of microsystems are deployed within a chemical solution to perform a predefined task. Several lablets have been designed and fabricated in a standard 180nm CMOS process and the electrical functionality has been verified by contacting the lablet electrodes with multiple probe needles. In order to use low voltage energy sources to supply the lablet, a voltage up-converter has been designed which is small enough to fit on the lablet.