A Dual-Supply Buck Converter with Improved Light-Load Efficiency



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Power consumption and device size have been placed at the primary concerns for battery-operated portable applications. Switching converters gain popularity in powering portable devices due to their high efficiency, compact sizes and high current delivery capability. However portable devices usually operate at light loads most of the time and are only required to deliver high current in very short periods, while conventional buck converter suffers from low efficiency at light load due to the switching losses that do not scale with load current. In this research, a novel technique for buck converter is proposed to reduce the switching loss by reducing the effective voltage supply at light load.

This buck converter, implemented in TSMC 0.18 micrometers CMOS technology, operates with a input voltage of 3.3V and generates an output voltage of 0.9V, delivers a load current from 1mA to 400mA, and achieves 54 percent ~ 91 percent power efficiency. It is designed to work with a constant switching frequency of 3MHz. Without sacrificing output frequency spectrum or output ripple, an efficiency improvement of up to 20 percent is obtained at light load.