Synchronous-Conduction-Mode Tapped-Inductor Buck Converter for Low-Power, High-Density Application


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Virginia Tech


General-purpose step-down converter is essential in electronic system for processing energy from high-voltage rail to low-voltage circuits. The applications can be found at the auxiliary supplies in automobile, industrial and communication systems. Buck converter is a common circuit topology to fulfill step-down conversion, especially in low-power application since it is well-studied and straightforward. However, it suffers from low duty cycle under high step-down condition, and typically operates in continuous conduction mode (CCM) that generates large switching loss. On the other hand, as an extension of the buck converter, tapped-inductor (TI) buck converter has larger duty cycle while maintaining the structural simplicity. Therefore, the main objective of this thesis is to explore the potential of TI buck converter as a wide conversion range, high power density and high efficiency topology for low power application. To achieve high efficiency at switching frequency of MHz-level, synchronous conduction mode (SCM) is applied for turn-on losses elimination.

The operation principle and power stage design of SCM TI buck is first introduced. The design of high switching frequency coupled inductor is emphasized since its size plays a critical role in power density. Loss breakdown is also provided to perform a comprehensive topological study. Secondly, detailed zero-voltage-switching (ZVS) condition of SCM TI buck is derived so that the converter does not experience redundant circulating energy. The experimental results of 15-W SCM TI buck converter prototypes are provided with 90.7% of peak power stage efficiency. The size of coupled inductor is down to 116 mm3. To enhance light-load efficiency, a variable frequency control scheme based on derived ZVS conditions is implemented with the switching frequency ranging from 2 MHz to 2.9 MHz.



coupled inductor, zero-voltage switching, non-isolated dc-dc converter, high step-down, high switching frequency, low-power application