Extending efficiency in a DC/DC converter with automatic mode switching from PFM to PWM

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Switch mode DC/DC converters are suited for battery powered applications, due to their high efficiency, which help in conserving the battery lifetime. Fixed Frequency PWM based converters, which are generally

Switch mode DC/DC converters are suited for battery powered applications, due to their high efficiency, which help in conserving the battery lifetime. Fixed Frequency PWM based converters, which are generally used for these applications offer good voltage regulation, low ripple and excellent efficiency at high load currents. However at light load currents, fixed frequency PWM converters suffer from poor efficiencies The PFM control offers higher efficiency at light loads at the cost of a higher ripple. The PWM has a poor efficiency at light loads but good voltage ripple characteristics, due to a high switching frequency. To get the best of both control modes, both loops are used together with the control switched from one loop to another based on the load current. Such architectures are referred to as hybrid converters. While transition from PFM to PWM loop can be made by estimating the average load current, transition from PFM to PWM requires voltage or peak current sensing. This theses implements a hysteretic PFM solution for a synchronous buck converter with external MOSFET's, to achieve efficiencies of about 80% at light loads. As the PFM loop operates independently of the PWM loop, a transition circuit for automatically transitioning from PFM to PWM is implemented. The transition circuit is implemented digitally without needing any external voltage or current sensing circuit.