November 30, 2011 | News
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The market for DC-DC converters is large and is expected to grow to $4.3Bn by 2016. However progress in DC-DC converter design has been incremental. Switched-mode power supplies, heavily reliant on bulky and expensive transformers and failure-prone electrolytic capacitors, continue to dominate. A clear opportunity exists for DC-DC conversion technology offering a significant improvement over existing technologies.
A new approach to DC-DC power conversion
The Metacapacitors team is developing breakthrough technology for DC-DC conversion using switched-capacitor circuits paired with a new class of high-frequency power handling capacitors. In a Metacapacitors DC-DC converter, control and power switching are combined in a single integrated circuit, while energy storage is provided by an inexpensive network of printed capacitors developed using proprietary technology.
Metacapacitors DC-DC converters offer significant advantages over switched-mode power supplies including:
- Lower cost by using inexpensive printed capacitor networks, reducing component count and eliminating costly custom transformers
- Longer lifetime by avoiding the use of failure-prone electrolytic capacitors
- Smaller form factor by eliminating bulky transformers, inductors, and electrolytic capacitors, and by employing high-frequency switching for greater power density
- Greater efficiency by using proprietary low-loss capacitor materials and reducing transistor switching losses
With funding from the United States Department of Energy’s prestigious ARPA-E program, the Metacapacitors team is developing advanced drivers for energy efficient LED lighting. Other targeted applications include micro-inverters for solar photovoltaic systems, power management for mobile devices, and in-building DC distribution systems.