Atmel Breaks Ultra-low Power Performance Barriers With World's Lowest Power ARM Cortex-M based Solution

Consuming One-third the Power of Existing Solutions, Atmel | SMART SAM L Family Achieves Impressive 185 EEMBC ULPBench Score

SAN JOSE, Calif., March 30, 2015 — (PRNewswire) —   Atmel® Corporation (NASDAQ: ATML), a leader in microcontroller (MCU) and touch technology solutions, today announced the company is 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.

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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."

Evaluation Kit

To accelerate a design, the new SAM L21 is compatible with the Atmel Xplained Pro, a professional evaluation board featuring auto-identification in Atmel Studio with an on-board debugger and standardized extension connectors. Atmel® Xplained development kit is a low-cost, easy-to-use, fast prototyping and evaluation platform for Atmel AVR® and Atmel | SMART ARM®-based MCUs. The kit is ideal for demonstrating the features and capabilities of Atmel MCUs and MPUs and can be customized with a wide range of expansion boards. The SAM L21 Xplained Pro is fully supported by Atmel Studio, a free IDE that features power profiling tools for the SAM L21 board, making it easy to pinpoint power peaks and calculate average power consumption.

Pricing and Availability                                                                                                       

The Atmel SAM L21 family is sampling now. To accelerate a design, development tools and datasheet are also available on Production quantities are scheduled for September 2015.

More Information
Atmel | SMART MCU family:
Atmel picoPower technology:
Embedded Design Blog:
Atmel YouTube Channel at 
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About Atmel
Atmel Corporation (NASDAQ: ATML) is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of microcontrollers, capacitive touch solutions, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and radio frequency (RF) components. Leveraging one of the industry's broadest intellectual property (IP) technology portfolios, Atmel is able to provide the electronics industry with intelligent and connected solutions focused on the industrial, consumer, communications, computing and automotive markets.

© 2015 Atmel Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Atmel®, Atmel logo and combinations thereof, AVR®, picoPower®, and others are registered trademarks or trademarks of Atmel Corporation or its subsidiaries. ARM® and Cortex® are registered trademarks of ARM Limited. Other terms and product names may be trademarks of others.

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