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This paper presents transformer-based self-starting boost converter architecture with low-power maximum power point tracking (MPPT) control for low-voltage thermoelectric generator applications. The minimum working voltage of the proposed boost converter is 40 mV with oscillation through a positive feedback loop formed by a native MOS and transformer. The oscillation autonomously starts up by thermal noise and VOUT is charged up to 1.2 V by the oscillation so that the control block can operate. After that, the transformer for start-up is reused as an inductor, and the normal boost converter mode is enabled for better energy transfer efficiency. An improved MPPT sensing method is also proposed to simplify the circuit. The prototype chip is implemented in a 0.13-μm CMOS process. It operates with an input voltage range of 40 mV to 300 mV and provides a maximum output power of 2.7 mW with a maximum efficiency of 61% at an output voltage of 2 V.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2012