Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Increasing the Light-Load Efficiency of Voltage Regulators Using Nonlinear Inductors with Cores of Different Materials", for Approval
The patent's assignee is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The disclosed embodiments relate to power supplies for electronic devices. More specifically, the disclosed embodiments relate to techniques for increasing the light-load efficiency of voltage regulators in power supplies using nonlinear inductors with cores of different materials.
"A switched-mode power supply in an electronic device generates an output voltage with a voltage regulator that charges and discharges an inductor using a switched input voltage. The output voltage may then be discharged into a capacitor to drive a load connected to the power supply. Because energy is stored in the inductor and/or capacitor, the switched-mode power supply is generally more efficient than a linear power supply that dissipates excess power in the form of heat.
"However, switched-mode power supplies have a number of drawbacks, particularly when used in smaller portable electronic devices such as tablet computers, mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and/or portable media players. First, switched-mode power supplies typically include relatively large and expensive inductors compared to other components in the power supplies. The inductors may also be subject to a tradeoff between size and efficiency, in which inductors that are larger and/or more expensive are more efficient than smaller inductors. This tradeoff may interfere with the design of a portable electronic device that needs to be both small and power-efficient.
"Inductors in switched-mode power supplies for portable electronic devices may be associated with an additional tradeoff between light-load efficiency and transient response. In particular, a portable electronic device is frequently operated in a low-power state (e.g., a sleep mode) that draws power at very light loads. The efficiency of the switched-mode power supply may be increased at such light loads by increasing the inductance of the inductor in the switched-mode power supply. On the other hand, the response of the switched-mode power supply to transient loads (e.g., during use of the portable electronic device) may be improved by reducing the inductance of the inductor and/or increasing the speed of the control loop for the switched-mode power supply, which decreases the efficiency of the switched-mode power supply.
"Hence, the use of portable electronic devices may be facilitated by managing the tradeoffs among size, efficiency, and transient response of power supplies for the portable electronic devices."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The disclosed embodiments relate to a power supply for a portable electronic device. The power supply includes a power source and a nonlinear inductor. The nonlinear inductor includes a first core and a second core connected in series to the first core, wherein the second core has a higher permeability than the first core.
"In some embodiments, the second core lacks an air gap.
"In some embodiments, the second core is smaller than the first core.
"In some embodiments, the first and second cores are used in a power supply for a portable electronic device.
"In some embodiments, the power supply is operated using at least one of a continuous conduction mode (CCM) and a discontinuous conduction mode (DCM).
"In some embodiments, a material of the first core is at least one of:
"powdered iron and sand dust.
"In some embodiments, a material of the second core is at least one of ferrite, nickel zinc, and nickel manganese.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
"FIG. 1 shows a power supply for an electronic device in accordance with the disclosed embodiments.
"FIG. 2 shows a voltage regulator in accordance with the disclosed embodiments.
"FIG. 3 shows an exemplary plot in accordance with the disclosed embodiments.
"FIG. 4 shows a flowchart illustrating the process of supplying power to components in a portable electronic device in accordance with the disclosed embodiments.
"FIG. 5 shows a portable electronic device in accordance with the disclosed embodiments.
"In the figures, like reference numerals refer to the same figure elements."
For additional information on this patent application, see: Lee, Kisun; Ye, Mao; Elkayam, Shimon. Increasing the Light-Load Efficiency of Voltage Regulators Using Nonlinear Inductors with Cores of Different Materials. Filed
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