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Ultra Low-power and Fast Wake-up MEMS-based Radios for the IoT

February 21 @ 6:00 PM - 8:15 PM

Co-sponsored by: Farhad Mafie

Abstracts:  The emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) poses stringent requirements on the energy consumption and has hence become the primary driver for low-power analog and RF circuit design. Implementation of increasingly complex functions under highly constrained power and area budgets, while circumventing the challenges posed by modern device technologies, makes the design of low-power RF CMOS radios ever more challenging. The power consumption of GHz short-range radios such as the ones used in BTLE has been significantly reduced in the last decade, but seems to level off at a few mW. This is still much too high to allow for continuous-time operation and duty cycling the radio is unavoidable in order to reach the tens of µW power consumption required for a multi-year autonomy. Duty-cycling unavoidably introduces some energy overhead that is wasted during turn-on and turn-off times. On the other hand, since there will be many radios that will share the same media, in order to avoid network congestion, the transmit times have to be made shorter by increasing the peak data rate. This results in the energy overhead becoming dominant. The use of PLL-free synthesizer using an RF MEMS frequency reference enables to minimize the wake-up and shutdown times to a few µs and hence minimize the energy-overhead. We will start with an introduction showing the requirements of IoT nodes with a focus on power consumption. We then will present how high-Q MEMS resonators can be used to further reduce the power consumption of low-power radios. After presenting the main features of high-Q MEMS resonators including bulk acoustic wave (BAW) resonators, we will show how several fundamental RF building blocks can benefit from them. Then we will present possible PLL-free transceiver architectures that take advantage of the very low phase noise and feature very short start-up time to greatly reduce the overhead energy.

Christian Enz, PhD, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), 1989. He is currently Professor at EPFL and Director of the Institute of Microengineering (IMT) and head of the IC Lab. Until April 2013 he was VP at the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) in Neuchâtel, Switzerland where he was heading the Integrated and Wireless Systems Division. Prior to joining the CSEM, he was Principal Senior Engineer at Conexant (formerly Rockwell Semiconductor Systems), Newport Beach, CA, where he was responsible for the modeling and characterization of MOS transistors for RF applications. From 1992 to 1997, he was an Assistant Professor at EPFL, working in the field of low-power analog CMOS IC design and device modeling. In 1989 he was one of the founders of Smart Silicon Systems S.A. (S3), where he developed several low-noise and low-power ICs, mainly for high energy physics application at CERN. His technical interests and expertise are in the field of ultra low-power analog and RF IC design, wireless sensor networks and semiconductor device modeling. Together with E. Vittoz and F. Krummenacher he is the developer of the EKV MOS transistor model and the author of the book “Charge-Based MOS Transistor Modeling – The EKV Model for Low-Power and RF IC Design” (Wiley, 2006). He is the author and co-author of more than 220 scientific papers and has contributed to numerous conference presentations and advanced engineering courses.  He is an IEEE Fellow and an individual member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW). He has been member of several technical program committees, including International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) and European Solid-State Circuits Conference (ESSCIRC). He has served as a vice-chair for the 2000 International Symposium on Low Power Electronics and Design (ISLPED), exhibit chair for the 2000 International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS) and chair of the technical program committee for the 2006 European Solid-State Circuits Conference (ESSCIRC). He has been an elected member of the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society (SSCS) Administrative Committee (AdCom) from 2012 to 2014 and the Chair of the IEEE Solid-State Chapter of West Switzerland. (

Speaker(s): Professor Christian Enz,


Day:                            Thursday, February 21, 2019

Time:                           Registration & Networking        6:00  p.m.  –  6:30  p.m.

Presentation               6:30  p.m.  – 8:00  p.m.

Q&A and Networking                 8:00  p.m. –   8:15  p.m.

Fee: Free for all the IEEE & SSCS members, students, engineers in transition, technologists, as well as those who are exploring to join IEEE & SSCS in the future.  

Room: 2nd Floor Conf Room
Knobbe Martens, 2040 Main St
Irvine, California


February 21
6:00 PM - 8:15 PM


City: Irvine