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Innovating Power Delivery Networks

By Tom Curatolo, Principal Field Applications Engineer

Every electronic piece of equipment or system has a power delivery network (PDN) made up of cables, bus bars, connectors, circuit board copper power planes and AC-to-DC and DC-to-DC converters and regulators. Governing the performance of a PDN is its overall architecture, such as the use of AC or DC voltage distribution, specific voltage and current levels and when and how many times the network needs voltage conversion and regulation. Many PDNs have been standardized in specific industries over many years, such as 270V and 28V in the defense and aerospace industry, the negative 48V used in communications infrastructure applications and the 12V PDN used in automobiles — which then became a standard in computer servers and industrial applications. As a result, billion-dollar industries were built around standard PDNs.

Significant disruption occurs when a standard PDN can no longer keep up with the demands in system power. Along with this disruption comes an enormous opportunity for power system designers to innovate PDNs based on a new standard such as 48V, which is now emerging in the hybrid vehicle, data center, artificial intelligence (AI) accelerator card, lighting and unmanned vehicle industries. As industries transition to new PDNs, there are many opportunities to substantially improve performance with non-traditional power delivery architectures and technologies.

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