News Column

Patent Issued for Generation of Voltage Supply for Low Power Digital Circuit Operation

June 4, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Electronics Newsweekly -- A patent by the inventor Ochoa, Agustin (Vista, CA), filed on June 6, 2012, was published online on May 20, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews correspondents.

Patent number 8729874 is assigned to Cypress Semiconductor Corporation (San Jose, CA).

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The invention relates, in general, to the field of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and systems. More particularly, the invention relates to numerous circuit improvements for the RFID tag for optimizing performance.

"As is well known in the art, a basic RFID system includes three components: an antenna or coil; a transceiver with decoder, i.e., RFID reader; and a transponder, i.e., RFID tag, programmed with unique information.

"RFID tags are categorized as either active or passive. Active RFID tags are powered by an internal battery and are typically read/write, i.e., tag data can be rewritten and/or modified. Passive RFID tags operate without a separate external power source and obtain operating power generated from the reader.

"An example of a typical passive RFID tag is shown in FIG. 1. Tag 100 includes an antenna 102 that is coupled to an analog front end circuit 104, which is in communication with a digital and memory circuit 106 through receive (RX) and transmit (TX) paths. Most passive RFID tags today use some sort of electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM) such as flash memory.

"While EEPROM memory has served in passive RFID tag applications to date, the demands for greater data throughput into and out of the RFID are increasing. This can be seen for example in factory environments, and in collecting highway tolls. The EEPROM based passive RFID tags, are slow and may not be suited for the higher throughput applications. Alternative, faster memories technologies such as FRAM ('Ferroelectric Random Access Memory') memory exist that are ideally suited for these new higher speed RFID applications. However, the RFID environment is extremely challenging for FRAM based integrated circuits, not only for the normal challenges such as the variation in process corners, temperature, and the constraints of low power operation but also for intermittent contact with the RFID reader leading to interruptions with the available power supply on the RFID tag.

"What is desired, therefore, are circuit improvements for an RFID tag that will provide robust operation in a challenging RFID environment while exploiting the advantages of FRAM memory."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "Accordingly, the present invention is directed to a power supply for low power operation of digital circuitry for an RFID application that substantially obviates one or more of the problems due to limitations and disadvantages of the related art.

"According to the present invention, a low power voltage regulator includes an output node for providing a regulated output voltage, a first diode-connected transistor of a first polarity type (P-channel transistor) in series with a second diode-connected transistor of a second polarity type (N-channel transistor) coupled between the output node and ground, and a bias current having a value for biasing the first and second diode-connected transistors in a sub-threshold mode of operation for very low power design or in higher current mode for higher performance design. The low power voltage regulator further includes a buffer amplifier or emitter (or source) follower stage to provide a low impedance regulated voltage. The bias current may be generated from a bandgap circuit to provide a low value current source capable of providing the sub-threshold or normal mode of operation, or other current source design.

"It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory and are intended to provide further explanation of the invention as claimed."

URL and more information on this patent, see: Ochoa, Agustin. Generation of Voltage Supply for Low Power Digital Circuit Operation. U.S. Patent Number 8729874, filed June 6, 2012, and published online on May 20, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=73&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=3608&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=20140520.PD.&OS=ISD/20140520&RS=ISD/20140520

Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Digital Circuits, Cypress Semiconductor Corporation.

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Source: Electronics Newsweekly