Next-generation telecommunications device power consumption reduction – Euramet

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The initial steps toward reducing the energy consumption of next-generation telecommunication technology have been taken thanks to a completed EMPIR project.

The rollout of 5th Generation (5G) telecommunications in Europe began in 2020. These systems will provide greater connectivity and, when combined with the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), which has the potential to connect and continuously operate 50 billion electronic devices, will likely consume a significant amount of energy, resulting in an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

Global greenhouse gas emissions in the information and communications technology sector climbed by 50% from 2.5 percent in 2013 to 3.7 percent in 2019. Personal mobile networks and mobile devices are responsible for 20% of the increase in footprint.

Some of the essential needs for more energy efficient devices were addressed in the EMPIR project Metrology for advanced energy-saving technology in next-generation electronics applications (16ENG06, ADVENT). If combined with sobriety in numeric technology use, such as the limitation of product numbers put on the market, this move toward reduced energy consumption could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The many advances the project achieved during its lifetime include:

  • developing the world’s first (on-chip) verified power monitoring sensor Based on the latest BICMOS 55 nm technology, this operates with zero-power consumption, which means it does not draw power from the device to make measurements.
  • producing the first uncertainty measurements on transistor power loss and observing losses of 60-80 percent of power usage with a measurement uncertainty of roughly 1%
  • investigating the effects of the environment on scanning microwave microscopy measurements used for material characterisation at various relative humidity levels (from 1 to 45 percent ) As a result, an excellent practise guide on this approach was published.
  • Utilizing mesoscale and analytical in-situ X-ray characterisation studies, as well as complementary nano-measurement techniques on piezoelectric samples under conditions never seen before, such as the introduction of a 200 kV/cm electric field using Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM).

The ADVENT results will aid industry in establishing traceable measuring methodologies and a rigorous metrology framework for more efficient power management systems, as well as assisting in the first steps toward decreasing the power consumption of our modern communication networks.

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