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Microchip Introduces SAM-L10 and SAM-L11 Microcontrollers with TrustZone and picoPower

By Bill Giovino
Jun 26, 2018 - 2:11:00 PM

Remember Atmel, Sam? This is an Arm Cortex-M23. M23?
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Microchip Technology has introduced the SAM-L10 and SAM-L11 Arm® Cortex-M23 32-bit microcontrollers. These MCUs run at 32MHz and boast a single-cycle 32x32 hardware multiply, up to 64KBytes Flash and 16KBytes RAM, and 2KBytes of data Flash that acts like EEPROM. It uses Microchip's picoPower® Technology to achive under 100nA SLEEP current. A Memory Protection Unit (MPU) protects proprietary firmware.

Block diagram of the Microchip SAM-L10/SAM-L11
Block diagram of the Microchip SAM-L10/SAM-L11
Microchip Arm TrustZone
The Microchip SAM-L11 has all the features of the Microchip SAM-L10, plus Arm's TrustZone® Technology. TrustZone provides extra code security by providing a secure bootloader and three levels of secure debug. TrustZone also provides four tamper pins for intrusion detection. Secure Flash and RAM memory spaces are supported, as well as data scrambling to hinder reverse-engineering efforts.

Crypto accelerators include AES-128, SHA-256, and GCM encryption. A True Random Number Generator (TRNG) is also provided.

Microchip SAM-L11 Enhancements
Besides the TrustZone security features, the Microchip SAM-L11 microcontroller also has two MPUs, two SysTick timers instead of one, and an additional interrupt vector table offset register. Each of these additional features is used when in Secure state. The SAM-L11 also has two additional external interrupts.

Arm Cortex-M23 Core
The Microchip SAM-L10 and SAM-L11 are based on the Arm Cortex-M23 core. This is similar to the Cortex-M0+ core with the same 2-stage pipeline. While the Arm Cortex-M0+ uses the ARMv6M instruction set, the Arm Cortex-M23 uses a superset of that instruction set, designated the ARMv8-M-Baseline. Additional instructions include signed and unsigned hardware divide, Compare-and-Branch, 32-bit Branch, semaphore support, and 16-bit immediate data. The Cortex-M23 also supports the C++11 language with Load-Acquire and Store-Release atomic instructions.

The Arm Cortex-M23 core does not support bit-banding.

Low Power Stats
The SAM-L10 and SAM-L11 are built using Microchip's proprietary picoPower Technology. RUN current is reported at less than  25µA/MHz and IDLE mode is less than 10µA/MHz. STANDBY mode provides full SRAM retention at 0.5µA. SLEEP mode (or OFF mode) draws less than 100nA.

Microchip SAM-L10 and SAM-L11 Features
Features of the new Microchip SAM-L10 and SAM-L11 32-bit microcontrollers include:

  • 32MHz 32-bit Arm Cortex-M23 core
  • Up to 64KBytes Flash
  • Up to 16KBytes RAM
  • 2KBytes Data Flash (like EEPROM) (SAM-L11 only)
  • 256Bytes TrustRAM
  • One Memory Protection Unit (MPU) (Two on the SAM-L11)
  • Hardware Crypto Engine (SAM-L11 only)
  • Single-Cycle Hardware Multiply
  • Configurable Custom Logic module
  • Six clock sources
  • 10-Channel 12-bit ADC
  • 10-bit 350ks/sec DAC
  • Two analog comparators
  • Three op-amps
  • Touchscreen controller (Peripheral Touch Controller)
  • Up to three SERCOM multi-function serial interfaces supporting UART, I2C, SPI, LIN, more
  • Three 16-bit Timers
  • Up to 25 I/O
  • Eight external interrupts

Target Markets
The SAM-L10 and SAM-L11 target Internet of Things (IoT) applications (duh) that require secure code and protection from code cracks.

Development Support
The Microchip SAM-L10 is supported b y the SAM-L10 Xplained Pro Evaluation Kit (DM320204). The Microchip SAM-L11 is supported by the SAM-L11 Xplained Pro Evaluation Kit (DM320205). These boards support MikroElektronika click boards and Xplained Pro extension kits.

Compiler support at the time of launch includes Atmel Studio 7, IAR Embedded Workbench, and the Arm Keil® MDK. Hardware debug interface tools include the Microchip Power Debugger. The Microchip Data Visualizer is an extension to Atmel Studio and is also supported.

Pricing and Availability
According to Microchip:
"SAM-L10 MCUs are available starting at $1.09 each in 10ku quantities.
SAM-L11 MCUs are available starting at $1.22 each in 10ku quantities.
The SAM L10 and SAM L11 Xplained Pro Evaluation Kits are available for $58.00 each (DM320204 and DM320205 respectively)."

About Microchip Technology
"Microchip Technology Inc is a leading provider of microcontroller, mixed-signal, analog and Flash-IP solutions, providing low-risk product development, lower total system cost and faster time to market for thousands of diverse customer applications worldwide.  Headquartered in Chandler, Arizona, Microchip offers outstanding technical support along with dependable delivery and quality."

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Microchip Introduces SAM-L10 and SAM-L11 Microcontrollers with TrustZone and picoPower

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Product data and specifications in this article are the responsibility of the manufacturer. No warrenty is expressed or implied as to the accuracy of manufacturer-supplied data. So there.
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