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Title:
CIRCUITS AND METHODS FOR SLEW RATE CONTROL OF SWITCHED CAPACITOR REGULATORS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/164736
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Circuits comprising: a first capacitor(Cl); a first switch(Sl) having a first side coupled to a VIN and a second side coupled to a first side of CI; a second switch(S2) having a first side coupled to the second side of SI; a third switch(S3) having a first side coupled to a second side of S2 and a second side coupled to a second side of CI; a fourth switch(S4) having a first side coupled to a second side of S3 and a second side coupled to a VSUPPPLY, wherein: in a first state, SI and S3 are off, and S2 and S4 are on; in a second state, SI and S3 are on, and S2 and S4 are off; and at least one of a control of SI, a control of S2, a control of S3, and a control of S4 is coupled to a time-varying-slew-rate signal.

Inventors:
LI, Thomas (804 Devoto St, Mountain View, CA, 94041, US)
LI, Zhipeng (40157 Davis St, Fremont, CA, 94538, US)
PUGGELLI, Alberto, Alessandro Angelo (530 El Camino Real, Apt. 104Burlingame, CA, 94010, US)
MEYVAERT, Hans (5420 Claremont Ave, Apt. BOakland, CA, 94618, US)
Application Number:
US2019/017950
Publication Date:
August 29, 2019
Filing Date:
February 14, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
LION SEMICONDUCTOR (332 Townsend Street, San Francisco, CA, 94107, US)
International Classes:
G05F3/16; H02M3/07
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BYRNE, Matthew, T. et al. (Byrne Poh LLP, 11 Broadway Suite 76, New York NY, 10004, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A circuit for a switched capacitor regulator, comprising:

a first capacitor having a first side and a second side;

a first switch having a first side coupled to an input voltage, a second side coupled to the first side of the first capacitor, and a control;

a second switch having a first side coupled to the second side of the first switch, a second side, and a control;

a third switch having a first side coupled to the second side of the second switch, a second side coupled to the second side of the first capacitor, and a control;

a fourth switch having a first side coupled to the second side of the third switch, a second side coupled to a supply voltage, and a control,

wherein in a first state: the first switch is off; the second switch is on, the third switch is off, and the fourth switch is on,

wherein in a second state: the first switch is on, the second switch is off, the third switch is on, and the fourth switch is off,

and wherein at least one of the control of the first switch, the control of the second switch, the control of the third switch, and the control of the fourth switch is coupled to a control signal having a slew rate that varies over time.

2. The circuit of claim 1, wherein the first switch is a PMOS FET, and the control of the first switch is a gate of the PMOS FET.

3. The circuit of claim 1, wherein the second switch is an NMOS FET, and the control of the second switch is a gate of the NMOS FET.

4. The circuit of claim 1, wherein the third switch is a PMOS FET, and the control of the third switch is a gate of the PMOS FET.

5. The circuit of claim 1, wherein the fourth switch is an NMOS FET, and the control of the fourth switch is a gate of the NMOS FET.

6. The circuit of claim 1, wherein the supply voltage is ground.

7. The circuit of claim 1, further comprising a second capacitor having a first side coupled to the second side of the second capacitor and a second side coupled to the supply voltage.

8. The circuit of claim 1, further comprising a variable capacitance having a first side coupled to one of the control of the first switch, the control of the second switch, the control of the third switch, and the control of the fourth switch.

9. The circuit of claim 8, wherein the variable capacitance is a bank of switched capacitors.

10. The circuit of claim 8, wherein the variable capacitance is a varactor.

11. The circuit of claim 1, further comprising:

a variable current source having an output;

third capacitor having a first side coupled to the supply voltage and having a second side coupled to the output of the variable current source and one of the control of the first switch, the control of the second switch, the control of the third switch, and the control of the fourth switch.

Description:
CIRCUITS AND METHODS FOR SLEW RATE

CONTROL OF SWITCHED CAPACITOR REGULATORS

Background

[0001] Switched capacitor regulators are a well-known class of regulator that can be used to regulate voltage or current. In many existing switched capacitor regulators, a network of switches in the regulators switch the regulators between two states. The output voltage or the output current of such regulators can be regulated by adjusting the frequency at which the regulators switch between states. However, changing the switching frequency can be prohibitive in electronic devices that are sensitive to electromagnetic interference (EMI). For example, mobile phones have strict specifications on EMI because too much EMI can affect call quality and wireless data transfer, and mobile phone engineers often need to adjust the operating frequency of various chips to prevent them from interfering with the key communication signals to ensure call quality does not degrade. To meet the strict EMI specification, the SC regulator might need to operate at a predictable, single switching frequency. In this case, the SC regulator cannot adjust the switching frequency to regulate the output voltage.

[0002] Accordingly, new mechanisms for regulating the output of switched capacitor regulators are desirable.

Summary

[0003] In accordance with some embodiments, circuits and methods for slew rate control of switched capacitor regulators are provided. More particularly, in some embodiments, circuits for a switched capacitor regulator are provided, the circuits comprising: a first capacitor having a first side and a second side; a first switch having a first side coupled to an input voltage, a second side coupled to the first side of the first capacitor, and a control; a second switch having a first side coupled to the second side of the first switch, a second side, and a control; a third switch having a first side coupled to the second side of the second switch, a second side coupled to the second side of the first capacitor, and a control; a fourth switch having a first side coupled to the second side of the third switch, a second side coupled to a supply voltage, and a control, wherein in a first state: the first switch is off; the second switch is on, the third switch is off, and the fourth switch is on, wherein in a second state: the first switch is on, the second switch is off, the third switch is on, and the fourth switch is off, and wherein at least one of the control of the first switch, the control of the second switch, the control of the third switch, and the control of the fourth switch is coupled to a control signal having a slew rate that varies over time.

[0004] Still more particularly, in some of these embodiments, the first switch is a PMOS

FET, and the control of the first switch is a gate of the PMOS FET.

[0005] Still more particularly, in some of these embodiments, the second switch is an NMOS FET, and the control of the second switch is a gate of the NMOS FET.

[0006] Still more particularly, in some of these embodiments, the third switch is a PMOS FET, and the control of the third switch is a gate of the PMOS FET.

[0007] Still more particularly, in some of these embodiments, the fourth switch is an NMOS FET, and the control of the fourth switch is a gate of the NMOS FET.

[0008] Still more particularly, in some of these embodiments, the supply voltage is ground.

[0009] Still more particularly, in some of these embodiments, the circuits further comprise a second capacitor having a first side coupled to the second side of the second capacitor and a second side coupled to the supply voltage. [00010] Still more particularly, in some of these embodiments, the circuits further comprise a variable capacitance having a first side coupled to one of the control of the first switch, the control of the second switch, the control of the third switch, and the control of the fourth switch. Even still more particularly, in some of these embodiments, the variable capacitance is a bank of switched capacitors. Even still more particularly, in some of these embodiments, the variable capacitance is a varactor.

[00011] Still more particularly, in some of these embodiments, the circuits further comprise a variable current source having an output; third capacitor having a first side coupled to the supply voltage and having a second side coupled to the output of the variable current source and one of the control of the first switch, the control of the second switch, the control of the third switch, and the control of the fourth switch.

Brief Description of the Drawings

[00012] FIG. 1 is an example of a model of an N:M switched capacitor (SC) regulator in accordance with some embodiments.

[00013] FIG. 2A is an example of a 2:1 SC regulator in accordance with some embodiments.

[00014] FIG. 2B illustrates examples of waveforms for four gates of the 2: 1 SC regulator of FIG. 2A in accordance with some embodiments.

[00015] FIGS. 3 A-3C illustrate examples of gate drive waveforms with different slew rates in accordance with some embodiments.

[00016] FIG. 3D illustrates an example of a way to adjust the effective VGS by adjusting the supply voltage of the drivers that generate the gate driver signals in accordance with some embodiments. [00017] FIG. 4A is an example of first circuit for changing slew rate in accordance with some embodiments.

[00018] FIG. 4B is an example of a second circuit for changing slew rate in accordance with some embodiments.

Detailed Description

[00019] In accordance with some embodiments, mechanisms for regulating the output of switched capacitor regulators using variable slew rates on the control signals of power switches are provided.

[00020] FIG. 1 illustrates an example 100 of a model of an N:M switched capacitor (SC) regulator in accordance with some embodiments. For example, if N is 2 and M is 1, the SC regulator model 100 describes a 2: 1 SC regulator. The input voltage VIN 102 is multiplied by the ratio M/N 108, which is followed by the output resistor ROUT 106. VOUT = M X VIN/N - ROUT X IOUT. ROUT 106 can be adjusted by changing the switching frequency of the SC regulator, but that can be prohibitive due to EMI reasons in certain applications. ROUT 106 can also be adjusted by changing the effective resistance of power switches. One way to do this is to change the slew rate of the gate driver signals going to the power switches.

[00021] FIG. 2A illustrates an example of a 2: 1 SC regulator 102 in accordance with some embodiments. As shown, regulator 102 includes four power switches PTOP 202, NMID 204, PMID 206, and NBOT 208. Any suitable components can be used to implement these switches in some embodiments. For example, in some embodiments, PTOP 202 and PMID 206 can be PMOS FET power switches, while NMID 204 and NBOT 208 can be NMOS FET power switches. [00022] During operation, these switches can turn on and off to cause the regulator to transition between State 0 and State 1 to regulate VOUT 108 to be close to 1/2 of VIN 104. These switches can be controlled by four gate signals PTOP_G 210, NMID G 212, PMID G 214, and NBOT G 216 of the four power switches PTOP 202, NMID 204, PMID 206, and NBOT 208. The gate signals drive a respective gate of PTOP 202, NMID 204, PMID 206, and NBOT 208 to turn them on or off.

[00023] As shown in FIG. 2A, in state 0, PTOP 202 and PMID 206 are turned off (as indicated by dashed lines) and NMID 204 and NBOT 208 are turned on. In state 1, PTOP 202 and PMID 206 are turned on, while NMID 204 and NBOT 208 are turned off (as indicated by dashed lines). As illustrated in FIG. 2 A, in state 0: a first side of CFLY 114 can be coupled by NMID 204 to a first side of a decoupling capacitor COUT 106 and an output that outputs VOUT 108; and a second side of CFLY 114 can be coupled by MBOT 208 to ground. In state 1 : the first side of CFLY 114 can be coupled by PTOP 202 to VIN 104; and the second side of CFLY 114 can be coupled by PMID 206 to the first side of decoupling capacitor COUT 106 and the output that outputs VOUT 108. In both state 0 and state 1, a second node of COUT 106 can be coupled to ground 110 in some

embodiments.

[00024] FIG. 2B illustrates example waveforms for the four gates PTOP_G 210, NMID G 212, PMID G 214, and NBOT G 216 of the four power switches PTOP 202, NMID 204, PMID 206, and NBOT 208, respectively, that can be used in some embodiments. VMID 218 can be connected to VOUT 108 or can be supplied by a separate voltage regulator that generates a voltage close to 1/2 of the input voltage VIN 104, in some embodiments.

[00025] As illustrated in FIG. 2B, PTOP_G 210 and PMID G 214 can share the same signal, and NMID G 212 and NBOT G 216 can share the same signal, in some embodiments. In some embodiments, there can be a dead time 220 between the turn off time of NMID G 212 and turn on time of PTOP_G 210 to provide enough margin to guarantee that both switches are never turned on at the same time, which can lead to malfunction of the SC regulator. Any suitable duration dead time can be used in some embodiments.

[00026] Even when a power switch is on, there is a non-zero on-state resistance due to non ideal parasitic resistance. The on-state resistance of power switches can be adjusted to adjust ROUT to regulate an SC regulator. The on-state resistance of a MOSFET is roughly inversely proportional to (VGS - Vth) (VGS is the gate to source voltage of a MOSFET, and Vth is the threshold voltage of a MOSFET), so changing the average value of VGS during on-state of the switch is one way to change on-state resistance.

[00027] This can be done by adjusting the slew rate of gate drive signals. FIGS. 3A-3C illustrate examples of gate drive waveforms with different slew rates that can be as gate drive signals. By using different waveforms, one can control the on-state resistance. FIG. 3 A has the highest effective VGS, or highest average value of VGS during on-state, which leads to lowest on- state resistance on NBOT 208. FIG. 3B has lower effective VGS and FIG. 3C has the lowest effective VGS. Decreasing slew rate on NBOT G 216 can lead to lower effective VGS and lower ROUT in some embodiments. This can be applied to switches other than NBOT 208 as well in some embodiments.

[00028] As illustrated in FIG. 3D, in some embodiments, another way to adjust the effective VGS can be to adjust the supply voltage of the drivers that generate the gate driver signals (e.g., NBOT G 216). In FIG. 3D, NBOT G 216 switches between GND 110 and VLOW 318, which is a variable voltage level that is lower voltage than VMID 218. The drawback of this method is it requires an additional voltage regulator to generate the variable voltage VLOW 318. VLOW 318 can be any value between GND 110 and VMID 218. The lower the VLOW 318 voltage, the higher the on-state resistance of NBOT 208. By adjusting the on-state resistance of NBOT 208, the regulator can regulate the output voltage or output current.

[00029] In contrast, changing slew rate can be done with very simple circuits. Two examples of circuits that can be used to change slew rate in accordance with some embodiments are illustrated in FIGS. 4A-4B. As illustrated in FIG. 4A, there can be an adjustable capacitance 402, which can be an array of capacitors that are connected or disconnected, or a varactor, on the gate of NBOT 208. More capacitance results in lower slew rate of NBOT G 216 and lower effective VGS during on-state of NBOT 208. As illustrated in FIG. 4B, another example is to have a variable current source 406 (which can be implemented in any suitable manner, such as, e.g., a MOSFET with adjustable gate voltage) providing charge to a capacitor 404 connected to the gate of NBOT 208. As the current increases, the slew rate on NBOT G 216 increases. Both variable current and variable capacitance can be used in some embodiments to allow for a wide range of slew rate on NBOT G 216.

[00030] Similar circuits can be applied to other power switches including PTOP 202, NMID 204, and PMID 206.

[00031] Although the invention has been described and illustrated in the foregoing illustrative embodiments, it is understood that the present disclosure has been made only by way of example, and that numerous changes in the details of implementation of the invention can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, which is limited only by the claims that follow. Features of the disclosed embodiments can be combined and rearranged in various ways.