High Frequency Class DE Converter Using a Multilayer Coreless PCB Transformer

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Abnavi, Somayeh
High Frequency Converter
In modern power electronics equipment, it is desirable to design a low profile, high power density, and fast dynamic response converter. Increases in switching frequency reduce the size of the passive components such as transformers, inductors, and capacitors which results in compact size and less requirement for the energy storage. In addition, the fast dynamic response can be achieved by operating at high frequency. However, achieving high frequency operation while keeping the efficiency high, requires new advanced devices, higher performance magnetic components, and new circuit topology. These are required to absorb and utilize the parasitic components and also to mitigate the frequency dependent losses including switching loss, gating loss, and magnetic loss. Required performance improvements can be achieved through the use of Radio Frequency (RF) design techniques. To reduce switching losses, resonant converter topologies like resonant RF amplifiers (inverters) combined with a rectifier are the effective solution to maintain high efficiency at high switching frequencies through using the techniques such as device parasitic absorption, Zero Voltage Switching (ZVS), Zero Current Switching (ZCS), and a resonant gating. Gallium Nitride (GaN) device technologies are being broadly used in RF amplifiers due to their lower on- resistance and device capacitances compared with silicon (Si) devices. Therefore, this kind of semiconductor is well suited for high frequency power converters. The major problems involved with high frequency magnetics are skin and proximity effects, increased core and copper losses, unbalanced magnetic flux distribution generating localized hot spots, and reduced coupling coefficient. In order to eliminate the magnetic core losses which play a crucial role at higher operating frequencies, a coreless PCB transformer can be used. Compared to the conventional wire-wound transformer, a planar PCB transformer in which the windings are laid on the Printed Board Circuit (PCB) has a low profile structure, excellent thermal characteristics, and ease of manufacturing. Therefore, the work in this thesis demonstrates the design and analysis of an isolated low profile class DE resonant converter operating at 10 MHz switching frequency with a nominal output of 150 W. The power stage consists of a class DE inverter using GaN devices along with a sinusoidal gate drive circuit on the primary side and a class DE rectifier on the secondary side. For obtaining the stringent height converter, isolation is provided by a 10-layered coreless PCB transformer of 1:20 turn’s ratio. It is designed and optimized using 3D Finite Element Method (FEM) tools and radio frequency (RF) circuit design software. Simulation and experimental results are presented for a 10-layered coreless PCB transformer operating in 10 MHz.
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