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High-Performance ZVS Buck Regulator Removes Barriers to Increased Power Throughput in Wide-Input-Range Point-of-Load Applications

Author: C. R. Swartz Principal Engineer, Vicor Corporation

Introduction
The need for higher power density in today’s electronic systems combined with higher overall efficiency has driven many changes in the non-isolated point-of-load Regulator (niPOL). In an effort to improve overall system efficiency, designers are opting to avoid multiple conversion stages to get to the regulated point-of-load voltage they need. This means that the niPOL is operated at higher input voltages with higher conversion ratios than ever before. Despite this fact, the niPOL is expected to maintain the highest efficiency and still continue to shrink the total size of the power solution. There is also the added expectation that with all other performance increases that power demand from the niPOL also further increases. The power industry has responded to this challenge by introducing many technological upgrades to the niPOL. Over the past few years, the industry has seen significant improvements in device packaging, silicon integration and MOSFET technology, yielding highly integrated, compact solutions.

While these solutions work well over a narrow voltage range, the efficiency and throughput power tend to drop slightly at modest step-down ratios of 10:1 or 12:1 and fall off dramatically when they are subjected to a wide input range that can be higher, with a step-ratio approaching 36:1.

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