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Silicon Laboratories Inc. (NASDAQ: SLAB), a leader in high-performance, analog-intensive, mixed-signal ICs, today introduced the industry’s lowest power ARM® Cortex™-M3 processor-based microcontroller (MCU) family and first-of-a-kind “power-aware” development tools. The Precision32 SiM3L1xx MCUs and development environment leverage mixed-signal innovations to enable developers to reduce power consumption to 175 µA/MHz in active mode and less than 250 nA in sleep mode with the real-time clock (RTC) enabled at 3.6 V. The new ultra-low-power mixed-signal MCUs are ideal for smart metering, utility monitoring, home automation, wireless security, asset tracking, personal medical devices and other power-sensitive applications to enable the Internet of Things (IoT).
Ultra-low-power MCUs are key building blocks of IP-enabled devices being connected to the IoT. Experts believe the IoT will comprise an estimated 50 billion intelligent devices by 2020, autonomously sensing, monitoring, processing, controlling and communicating over wireless networks. Because many of these intelligent end nodes will be powered by batteries or harvested energy sources, they require exceptionally energy-efficient MCUs such as the SiM3L1xx devices that enable developers to optimize system-level power consumption.
The SiM3L1xx family is the industry’s most power-efficient line of 32-bit MCUs, designed to achieve ground-breaking ultra-low-power operation based on an ARM Cortex-M3 processor operating at up to 50 MHz. The new Precision32 mixed-signal MCUs include power-saving peripheral and architectural innovations that can reduce current consumption below that of many 8-bit MCUs, enabling developers to use higher performance 32-bit cores in their low-power embedded designs without the tradeoff of reduced battery life.
Active mode power reduction is achieved through a number of key innovations. For example, dynamic voltage scaling adjusts the internal device voltage in response to changing conditions. An integrated, high-efficiency dc-dc buck converter reduces active mode power by 40 percent compared to competing 32-bit MCUs. Dedicated peripherals such as a data transfer manager, AES encryption block and run-time encoder accelerate the processing of RF protocol for wireless applications without CPU intervention, greatly reducing system power.