The Apollo family of microcontrollers from Ambiq Micro represents a quantum leap forward in the low-power MCU world. Power sensitive applications today are not looking for incremental reductions in energy consumption - they need revolutionary advances and the Apollo MCUs deliver.
The Ambiq Micro AM08xx Low Power Real-Time Clock (RTC) family provides a groundbreaking combination of ultra-low power coupled with a highly sophisticated feature set. With power requirements significantly lower than any other industry RTC (as low as 14nA in RC mode, 22nA in auto calibration mode, 55nA in XT mode), these are the first semiconductor products based on Ambiq Micro’s innovative SPOT™ (Subthreshold Power Optimized Technology) CMOS Platform.
Ambiq Micro developed a patented Subthreshold Power Optimized Technology (SPOT™) platform that dramatically reduces the amount of power consumed by semiconductors. By applying SPOT, Ambiq produces the world’s lowest power real-time clock (RTC) and microcontroller (MCU), Apollo.
Ambiq Micro is redefining “ultra-low power” with its unique and proprietary Subthreshold Power Optimized Technology (SPOT™) platform. The patented SPOT™ architecture uses transistors biased in the subthreshold region of operation (aka very low voltages) to achieve unmatched energy efficiency.
Rather than using transistors that are turned all the way “on”, subthreshold circuits use the leakage of “off” transistors to compute in both the digital and analog domains. With most computations handled by using only leakage current, total system power consumption on the order of nanoamps is easily achieved. For example, when compared to a typical circuit operating at 1.8V, a “near-threshold” circuit operating at 0.5V can achieve up to a 13X improvement in dynamic power.
Operation at such low voltages is problematic due to susceptibility to noise, high sensitivity to temperature, and variability due to process drift. In developing the SPOT™ platform, Ambiq Micro has addressed all of these challenges by redesigning every analog and digital circuit in the chip to adapt for the temperature, voltage, and manufacturing variations that are problematic at these voltage levels.
Despite the comprehensive use of subthreshold voltages in the SPOT™ platform, Ambiq Micro’s products behave just like any other semiconductor device and they are implemented using industry-standard CMOS manufacturing flows. The one difference: dramatically reduced power consumption.
More details on the products can be found on our Ultra-low power MCUs & RTCs website.