New temperature sensor uses just 113 picowatts of power

New temperature sensor created, uses 100 billion times less power than 1W.

1 minute & 18 seconds read time

We might be seeing the likes of 7nm coming soon, while the latest and greatest graphics cards are made on the new 14nm and 16nm nodes with some seriously power efficient GPU technology from NVIDIA and its Pascal architecture at 14nm.

New temperature sensor uses just 113 picowatts of power |

Now, we have researchers from UC San Diego developing a new temperature sensor that uses 10 billion times less power than 1W, at just 113 picowatts. Hui Wang is an author on the new study, telling Scientific Reports: "We're building systems that have such low power requirements that they could potentially run for years on just a tiny battery".

The team worked on reducing power in two areas, with the first being the power source, where they used something that other researchers in their field are trying to move away from. This is where transistors come into play, as they have a gate that stops the flow of electrons in a circuit, but transistors also keep getting thinner and thinner, introducing new problems. As transistors get smaller, the gate material becomes thinner, which is where "gate leakage" comes into play.

These leaked electrons are what is powering the new sensors, with Hui explaining: "Many researchers are trying to get rid of leakage current, but we are exploiting it to build an ultra-low power current source". There were also other improvements to the new sensor where power was reduced from the way the sensor converts temperature to a digital read out, with this improvement yielding a huge 628x less power than the best sensors of today.

This new sensor would be perfect for the next generation of wearable devices, as well as environmental and home monitoring systems. In its current form, the sensor can do one temperature read per second. The team is currently working on optimizations on the design, as well as improvements to its accuracy.


Anthony joined the TweakTown team in 2010 and has since reviewed 100s of graphics cards. Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering and has recently taken a keen interest in artificial intelligence (AI) hardware.

Newsletter Subscription

Related Tags