Rapid growth in the demand for portable, battery-operated electronics for communications, computing and consumer applications, as well as the continued scaling of VLSI technology, has begun to significantly alter the constraints under which many semiconductor integrated circuits are designed. In particular, in order to both conserve power in digital circuits and reduce the high electric fields that accompany the scaling of device dimensions, it is becoming necessary for circuits to operate from reduced supply voltages. Without the use of voltage regulation, the minimum supply voltage in portable equipment is generally the end-of-life battery voltage multiplied by the number of cells connected in series. In the case of nickel-cadmium and alkaline cells, the end-of-life voltage is 0.9 V, corresponding to a 1.8-V minimum supply voltage for two batteries in series.
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