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Analytical Modeling and Development of GaN-Based Point of Load Buck Converter with Optimized Reverse Conduction Loss

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This work analyzes and develops a point-of-load (PoL) synchronous buck converter using enhancement-mode Gallium Nitride (e-GaN), with emphasis on optimizing reverse conduction loss by using a well-known technique of placing

This work analyzes and develops a point-of-load (PoL) synchronous buck converter using enhancement-mode Gallium Nitride (e-GaN), with emphasis on optimizing reverse conduction loss by using a well-known technique of placing an anti-parallel Schottky diode across the synchronous power device. This work develops an improved analytical switching model for the GaN-based converter with the Schottky diode using piecewise linear approximations.

To avoid a shoot-through between the power switches of the buck converter, a small dead-time is inserted between gate drive switching transitions. Despite optimum dead-time management for a power converter, optimum dead-times vary for different load conditions. These variations become considerably large for PoL applications, which demand high output current with low output voltages. At high switching frequencies, these variations translate into losses that contribute significantly to the total loss of the converter. To understand and quantify power loss in a hard-switching buck converter that uses a GaN power device in parallel with a Schottky diode, piecewise transitions are used to develop an analytical switching model that quantifies the contribution of reverse conduction loss of GaN during dead-time.

The effects of parasitic elements on the dynamics of the switching converter are investigated during one switching cycle of the converter. A designed prototype of a buck converter is correlated to the predicted model to determine the accuracy of the model. This comparison is presented using simulations and measurements at 400 kHz and 2 MHz converter switching speeds for load (1A) condition and fixed dead-time values. Furthermore, performance of the buck converter with and without the Schottky diode is also measured and compared to demonstrate and quantify the enhanced performance when using an anti-parallel diode. The developed power converter achieves peak efficiencies of 91.7% and 93.86% for 2 MHz and 400 KHz switching frequencies, respectively, and drives load currents up to 6A for a voltage conversion from 12V input to 3.3V output.

In addition, various industry Schottky diodes have been categorized based on their packaging and electrical characteristics and the developed analytical model provides analytical expressions relating the diode characteristics to power stage performance parameters. The performance of these diodes has been characterized for different buck converter voltage step-down ratios that are typically used in industry applications and different switching frequencies ranging from 400 KHz to 2 MHz.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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An analytical approach to efficient circuit variability analysis in scaled CMOS design

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Process variations have become increasingly important for scaled technologies starting at 45nm. The increased variations are primarily due to random dopant fluctuations, line-edge roughness and oxide thickness fluctuation. These variations

Process variations have become increasingly important for scaled technologies starting at 45nm. The increased variations are primarily due to random dopant fluctuations, line-edge roughness and oxide thickness fluctuation. These variations greatly impact all aspects of circuit performance and pose a grand challenge to future robust IC design. To improve robustness, efficient methodology is required that considers effect of variations in the design flow. Analyzing timing variability of complex circuits with HSPICE simulations is very time consuming. This thesis proposes an analytical model to predict variability in CMOS circuits that is quick and accurate. There are several analytical models to estimate nominal delay performance but very little work has been done to accurately model delay variability. The proposed model is comprehensive and estimates nominal delay and variability as a function of transistor width, load capacitance and transition time. First, models are developed for library gates and the accuracy of the models is verified with HSPICE simulations for 45nm and 32nm technology nodes. The difference between predicted and simulated σ/μ for the library gates is less than 1%. Next, the accuracy of the model for nominal delay is verified for larger circuits including ISCAS'85 benchmark circuits. The model predicted results are within 4% error of HSPICE simulated results and take a small fraction of the time, for 45nm technology. Delay variability is analyzed for various paths and it is observed that non-critical paths can become critical because of Vth variation. Variability on shortest paths show that rate of hold violations increase enormously with increasing Vth variation.

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Date Created
  • 2011