Silicon-Integrated Power Conversion for Microsystems
Trends in the miniaturization of electronic products, especially in the portable products area has sparked considerable interest in the miniaturization of the energy processing electronics i.e. the power conversion circuits such as the switch mode power supply (SMPS). Unlike digital electronics, which have benefited from miniaturization and integration in microelectronics, power conversion electronics have not significantly reduced in size. This is directly due to the fact that power conversion requires energy storage components such as inductors and capacitors. In order to miniaturise the power converter components these component must be miniaturized and integrated. Traditionally the inductive components have been difficult to integrate on chip. A large part of the work done in the group focuses on the development of technology for the integration of magnetic components on to Silicon with a view towards the single chip power supply or PSOC (power supply on chip).
Central to the concept of integration of the inductor on-chip is the requirement that the converter switching frequency be increased sufficiently so that the required inductance values are small enough that they can be integrated on-chip in a reasonable area. The target frequency for the technology being developed at Tyndall is in the 10 – 100 MHz range.
Measured inductance and resistance vs. frequency for several microfabricated inductors in the 1 – 100 Mhz frequency range. These inductors have a footprint area in the range of 5 – 100 mm2.
In addition to inductors the Tyndall technology has been used to fabricate transformers for signal and power transfer. Signal transformers have a no-load gain of approximately -1 dB in a frequency range of 1 – 100 MHz.
Measured gain vs. frequency of fabricated micro-transformer with and without load. The transformer has a 1:1 turns ratio.
The group’s research activities encompass elements of:
- Design, Modelling, Optimisation
- Inductor, Coupled Inductors, Transformer fabrication
- Microfabrication process developments
R&D Leader: Micropower - Nanomagnetics
Phone: +353 21 490 4331
e-mail: saibal.roy (at) tyndall.ie