Design and Implementation of a Multiphase Buck Converter for Front End 48V-12V Intermediate Bus Converters
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The trend in isolated DC/DC bus converters is to increase the output power in the same brick form factors that have been used in the past. Traditional intermediate bus converters (IBCs) use silicon power metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors (MOSFETs), which recently have reached the limit in terms of turn on resistance (RDSON) and switching frequency. In order to make the IBCs smaller, the switching frequency needs to be pushed higher, which will in turn shrink the magnetics, lowering the converter size, but increase the switching related losses, lowering the overall efficiency of the converter. Wide-bandgap semiconductor devices are becoming more popular in commercial products and gallium nitride (GaN) devices are able to push the switching frequency higher without sacrificing efficiency. GaN devices can shrink the size of the converter and provide better efficiency than its silicon counterpart provides. A survey of current IBCs was conducted in order to find a design point for efficiency and power density. A two-stage converter topology was explored, with a multiphase buck converter as the front end, followed by an LLC resonant converter. The multiphase buck converter provides regulation, while the LLC provides isolation. With the buck converter providing regulation, the switching frequency of the entire converter will be constant. A constant switching frequency allows for better electromagnetic interference (EMI) mitigation. This work includes the details to design and implement a hard-switched multiphase buck converter with planar magnetics using GaN devices. The efficiency includes both the buck efficiency and the overall efficiency of the two-stage converter including the LLC. The buck converter operates with 40V - 60V input, nominally 48V, and outputs 36V at 1 kW, which is the input to the LLC regulating 36V – 12V. Both open and closed loop was measured for the buck and the full converter. EMI performance was not measured or addressed in this work.
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