A 47.14-μW 200-MHz MOS/MTJ-Hybrid Nonvolatile Microcontroller Unit Embedding STT-MRAM and FPGA for IoT Applications

Masanori Natsui, Daisuke Suzuki, Akira Tamakoshi, Toshinari Watanabe, Hiroaki Honjo, Hiroki Koike, Takashi Nasuno, Yitao Ma, Takaho Tanigawa, Yasuo Noguchi, Mitsuo Yasuhira, Hideo Sato, Shoji Ikeda, Hideo Ohno, Tetsuo Endoh, Takahiro Hanyu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The demand for energy-efficient, high-performance microcontroller units (MCUs) for the use in power-supply-critical Internet-of-Things (IoT) sensor-node applications has witnessed a substantial increase. In response, research concerning the development of several low-power-consuming MCUs has been actively pursued. The performance level of such MCUs, however, has not been sufficient, thereby rendering them non-feasible for the use in IoT sensor-node applications that process a large number of received signals immediately followed by extraction of valuable information from them to limit data transferred to a data center. To realize next-generation IoT systems based on intelligent sensor-node application, ultra-low-power high-performance MCUs need to be developed. This paper presents an ultra-low-power-consuming and high-performance MCU configuration based on the spintronics device technology, using which all modules are non-volatilized, and any wasteful power consumption is eliminated by controlling the power supplied independently to each module. By incorporating a reconfigurable accelerator module, for performing various signal-processing procedures in sensor-node applications, and a memory controller, which can speed up the entire system by relaxing the data-transfer bottleneck of logic and memory, the proposed MCU configuration achieves ultra-low power consumption and high-speed operation. As confirmed by the results obtained via measurements performed on a fabricated chip, the proposed MCU design, on average, consumed 47.14 μW power at an operating frequency of 200 MHz. This corresponds to the world's highest signal-processing performance and energy efficiency of highly functional IoT sensor nodes powered by harvested energy

Original languageEnglish
Article number8796413
Pages (from-to)2991-3004
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Energy harvesting
  • Internet of Things
  • field-programmable gate arrays
  • magnetic tunnel junction
  • microcontroller unit (MCU)
  • spin-transfer-torque magnetoresistive random access memory (STT-MRAM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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