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High-efficiency switched-capacitor DC-DC converter for RFICs

Posted: 05 Feb 2016     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Toshiba  DC-DC converter  wireless  LDO  capacitor 

Toshiba Corp. has developed what it describes as an on-chip switched-capacitor DC-DC converter for wireless ICs that extends the battery life of wireless devices, and supports use of both 3V lithium battery and 1.5V alkaline battery with the same design.

Many of today's wireless ICs have embedded DC-DC converters instead of LDO regulators to reduce the power consumption of the ICs. However, mainstream inductor-based DC-DC converters require an inductor that is relatively bulky and expensive. Capacitor-based DC-DC converters have gained attention recently on their ability to offer a compact, low cost module. However, switched-capacitor DC-DC converters offer high efficiency only in a limited input and output voltage range, since they are based on a discrete conversion ratio; inductor-based DC-DC converters have a continuous conversion ratio. Conventional techniques solve this by connecting multiple switched-capacitor units in series, but this incurs an efficiency penalty.

Toshiba has solved the issue by developing a unified switched-capacitor topology with three capacitors and a multiple switch control architecture that achieves multiple conversion ratios. Switched between the appropriate configurations of capacitors, this switched-capacitor DC-DC converter offers up to 95.8 per cent efficiency with a 0.85V to 3.6V wide input voltage range, and a 0.1V to 1.9V wide output voltage range. It also supports auto-configured step-up and step-down power conversions, and can provide two channels of regulated output voltages.

Toshiba will continue to research this technology toward providing lower-cost and thinner wireless device modules, and plans to use the switched-capacitor in a low-power wireless IC released in three years.





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