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Over the past decade computers, displays, smart phones and other consumer electronics systems have become thinner while also becoming more powerful. As a result, the market continues to increase its demand for thinner power supply solutions with greater power density. This article examines the feasibility of adopting various non-isolated dc-dc step-down topologies for an ultra-thin 48 V to 20 V rated to 250 W. It examines the pros and cons of various non-isolated topologies and how the topology impacts the choice of the power transistors and magnetics, specifically the inductors, as these two components account for the bulk of the losses in a converter. The article also undertakes a detailed analysis of the challenges to design thin inductors for these applications, including examining the factors that drive inductor losses, inductor size, and the design tradeoffs, including the impact on EMI. For this work, an ultrathin multilevel converter topology was selected, built, and tested. The experimental results obtained from this converter were used to further refine the operating setting and component selections that resulted in a peak efficiency exceeding 98%.
Michael de Rooij, EPC
Quentin Laidebeur, Würth Elektronik
IEEE Power Electronics Magazine
In last month’s Safety & Compliance column in How2Power, “WBG Semiconductors Pose Safety And EMI Challenges In Motor Drive Applications,”Kevin Parmenter made some assertions about the difficulties of using SiC, and to a lesser extent GaN, power semiconductors in large motor-drive applications. This commentary is a response to that article, showing that GaN can be a game changer in low-voltage integrated motors.