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S. Saponara, G. Ciarpi: “Universal and inductorless DC/DC converter for multi-output power sup-plies in sensor and actuator networks”, SPIE Microtechnologies, May 2017

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Abstract: This work proposes a universal and inductorless DC/DC converter that can be used for a wide input range, from few V to 60 V, to regulate output voltages from 5 V down to 1 V in Sensor and Actuator Network nodes. The proposed converter has been developed within the Athenis3D European project. It is composed by a cascade of multiple switching capacitor stages, with a proper skip-mode control to implement both step-down and step-up converting ratios, thus regulating all input sources to a voltage of about 6 V. These switching stages are further cascaded with linear regulators, which can provide stable output voltages down to 1 V. The multi-output regulator has been realized as a single-chip in a low-cost 0.35 μm CMOS technology. It is available as a naked die or in a ceramic package. The only needed external components are surface mount capacitors, which can be integrated on top of the naked chip die, creating a 3D structure, using trench capacitors embedded in a passive interposing layer. This way the size of the power management unit is further minimized. An advantage of the proposed converter is that it isn’t optimized for a particular input voltage, therefore it can be used with no constant input power, like power harvesting systems (e.g. solar cells, wind and water turbines) and very disturbed power supplies.