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Atmel Releases the World's Lowest Power ARM Cortex-M based Solution


Consuming One-third the Power of Existing Solutions, Atmel-SMART SAM L Family Extends Battery Life into Decades


Atmel has announced the company is now sampling the industry's lowest power ARM® Cortex®-M based solution with power consumption down to 35µA/MHz in active mode and 200nA in sleep mode. The ultra-low power SAM L family broadens the Atmel SMART 32-bit ARM-based MCU portfolio and extends battery life from years to decades, reducing the number of times batteries need to be changed in devices such as fire alarms, healthcare, medical, wearable, and devices placed in rural, agriculture, offshore and other remote areas. The SAM L21 combines ultra-low power with Flash and SRAM that are large enough to run both the application and wireless stacks three features that are cornerstones of most IoT applications. Sampling now, the SAM L21 comes complete with a development platform including an Xplained PRO kit, code libraries and Atmel Studio support.

The new family consumes just one-third the power of competing solutions on the market today and integrates the company's proprietary ultra-low power picoPower® technology. While running the EEMBC® ULPBench™, the industry marker for low power, the SAM L21 achieves a staggering score of 185, the highest publicly-recorded score for any Cortex-M based processor or MCU in the world and significantly higher than the 167 and 123 scores announced by other vendors. Atmel's SAM L21 family consumes less than 940nA with full 40kB SRAM retention, real-time clock and calendar and 200nA in the deepest sleep mode.

Atmel's ultra-low power SAM L21 family is ideal for a number of applications including the Internet of Things (IoT), consumer, industrial, medical and other battery-powered devices. The low-power innovations in this Atmel SMART family is achieved through several technological breakthroughs including:

  • Best-in-class active mode current consumption
  • SRAM back biasing to reduce leakage in sleep modes
  • Sleep modes that do not only gate away the clock signal to stop switching consumption, but also remove power from sub domains to fully eliminate leakage.
  • SAM L21 peripherals that support Sleepwalking a technology that enables peripherals to request a clock when needed to wake-up from sleep modes and perform tasks without having to power up the CPU Flash and other support systems.
  • Atmel's proprietary Event System that allows peripherals to work together to solve complex tasks using minimal gates and also the lowest possible power.
  • Ultra-low power capacitive touch sensing peripheral that can run in all operating modes and supports wake-up on touch.

“With over two decades of MCU experience, ultra-low power picoPower technology is part of Atmel's heritage, starting with our AVR family. The SAM L21 MCUs leverage this ultra-low power expertise and are enabling customers to solve their power challenges for battery-powered IoT devices,” said Pat Sullivan, Vice President of Marketing, Microcontroller Business Unit, Atmel Corporation. “As the leader in low-power technology, Atmel is committed to providing the industry with a truly differentiated and unparalleled ultra-low power solution optimized for the IoT. When paired with Atmel's wireless and security solutions, they offer the perfect IoT platform.”

“In Atmel's announcement last year for the company's SAM L21 family, I had pointed out the amazingly low current consumption ratings for both the active and sleep mode operation of this product family - now I can confirm this opinion with concrete data derived from the EEMBC ULPBench,” said Markus Levy, President and Founder, EEMBC. “Atmel achieved the lowest power of any Cortex-M based processor and MCU in the world because of its patented ultra-low power picoPower technology. These ULPBench results are remarkable, demonstrating the company's low-power expertise utilizing DC-DC conversion for voltage monitoring, as well as other innovative techniques.”


The company's Web site address is www.atmel.com
[Reprinted with kind permission from Atmel - Release Date, 30th March, 2015]


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