From smartphones and electric vehicles (EVs) to EV charging stations and telecom centers, power management has increasingly become a key factor in enabling the electronics we use every day. Until recent years, high-efficiency power management often took a back seat to other design considerations. But that has changed. Over the last five to 10 years, considerations such as extending battery life while reducing application size, making systems safer, and meeting consumer expectations for more reliable and lower-cost systems that charge faster have intensified the focus ON solving key power-design challenges.
Improvements in new process, packaging and circuit-design technologies are providing engineers with the highest levels of efficiencies for the systems they design. As the world consumes more and more power, we all need to strive to make the energy we produce go further and last longer. Today, generational improvements in five key areas are helping push power further.
1. Power density bolsters performance in smaller spaces
Electronic systems demand increases in functionality that often outpace the amount of energy available. This requires improving the amount of power processed in a given form factor—or power density—which is enabled by higher efficiency and switching frequencies. Power designers are looking to squeeze more power into smaller spaces to differentiate their products, increase efficiency, and improve thermal performance.
In the case of gallium nitride (GaN), power system designers have shown significant interest in applications such as AC/DC chargers and server power supplies, where higher density and efficiency add significant value. Of course, power density is critical in virtually all applications, including solar power and electric vehicles. Consumers want solutions that are smaller and consume less power.
2. Low EMI lowers system costs
Reducing electromagnetic interference (EMI)—an undesirable byproduct of switching currents and voltages—is increasingly important for electronic systems, especially in automotive and industrial applications. Designing for low EMI can reduce passive filter size, cost, design time, and complexity. Choosing the right power semiconductors enable engineers to shrink the size of the power-supply solution and lower its EMI. With TI’s LM25149-Q1 and LM25149, for example, engineers can cut the area of the external EMI filter in half, lower the conducted EMI of the power design, and achieve a combination of reduced filter size and low EMI.
Click for a larger image. (Source: Texas Instruments Inc.)
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