Technology Transfer SSC Pacific
Microprocessor Power Reduction

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The U.S. Navy seeks to commercialize U.S. Patent number 7,153,749 (Method of tuning voltages of interdiffusible structures).

The Technology

With the use of portable and wireless electronic systems increasing, reduction in power/energy consumption has become one of the most important design concerns.  Power dissipation not only affects performance and battery life, but also has a large impact on packaging, reliability, and heat removal costs. Threshold voltage is the minimum amount of power necessary to turn on a microprocessor. By fine-tuning this threshold, a much more efficient system can be created. Threshold tuning has been shown to decrease power consumption by as much as 10% (1), and power leakage by as much as 80% (2); however, current threshold tuning technology is limited by the physical dimensions of the microprocessor itself. SSC Pacific  has patented a pulsed laser method that overcomes this limitation allowing the threshold voltage of a microprocessor to be tuned regardless of its physical dimensions.

Key Benefits

  • Significant reduction in power needed for microprocessor
  • Significant reduction in power leakage and dissipation
  • The technology can be applied to any materials system (e.g., semi-conductor materials to include organics and substrates)
  • End-user power conservation and cost reduction
  • Reduction in overall system temperature
  • Pulsed laser technique allows for greater accuracy in threshold tuning and selection of processor/transistors
  • Ability to tune the threshold voltage for different applications integrated on the same chip
  • Development Status

  • U.S. Patent issued: 7,153,749
  • Total R&D: $400K and 1 year
  • DoD 5000 Series Technology Readiness Level 3: Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof of concept 
  • (1) Recent applications demonstrated by IBM’s G6 microprocessor lead to a 10% improvement in power consumption (2007).
    (2) Records of the 1999 IEEE International Workshop “Memory Technology, Design and Testing” show an 80% improvement in power leakage.
    For more information on technology transfer, please contact us at (619) 5535118 or email
    SD 687, February 2007. SSC Pacific, San Diego, CA 921525001. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.

    SSC Pacific
    Updated: 10/25/2011 11:08 AM EST   Published