Energy and Latency Optimization in NEM Relay-Based Digital Circuits

Sunil Rana, Qin Tian, Antonios Bazigos, Daniel Grogg, Michel Despont, Christopher L Ayala, Christoph Hagleitner, Adrian Mihai Ionescu, Roberto Canegallo, Dinesh Pamunuwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Digital circuits based on nanoelectromechanical (NEM) relays hold out the potential of providing an energy efficiency unachievable by conventional CMOS technology. This paper presents a detailed analysis of the operating characteristics of fabricated curved cantilever NEM relays using a comprehensive physical model. The mode of energy distribution within the electrical and mechanical operational domains of the relay is described in detail and the energy saving achievable by the technique of body-biasing is quantified. The analysis further reveals that the latency in a relay can be much larger or much smaller than the nominal mechanical delay depending on the point of actuation in the oscillation of the beam that takes place after pull-out. The methods that can utilize this phenomenon to reduce the latency of relay-based circuits are discussed, thus addressing one of the biggest challenges in NEM relay-based design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2348-2359
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems - I: Regular Papers
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2014

Structured keywords

  • Photonics and Quantum


  • cantilevers
  • digital circuits
  • nanoelectromechanical devices
  • relays
  • NEM relay-based design
  • NEM relay-based digital circuits
  • beam oscillation
  • body-biasing technique
  • comprehensive physical model
  • conventional CMOS technology
  • electrical operational domain
  • energy distribution model
  • energy efficiency
  • energy optimization
  • energy saving
  • fabricated curved cantilever NEM relays
  • latency optimization
  • latency reduction
  • mechanical operational domain
  • nanoelectromechanical relays
  • nominal mechanical delay
  • Damping
  • Force
  • Integrated circuit modeling
  • Logic gates
  • Mathematical model
  • Relays
  • Springs
  • Behavioral model
  • Nanoelectromechanical (NEM) relay
  • electrical/mechanical contact model
  • electromechanical domain
  • finite element analysis


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