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This paper introduces a voltage mode digital controller for low-power high-frequency DC-DC switch-mode power supplies (SMPS) that has fast transient response, approaching physical limitations of a given power stage. In steady state, the controller operates as a conventional pulsewidth modulation regulator and during transients it utilizes a novel fast voltage recovery mechanism, based on real-time processing of the output voltage in digital domain. This continuous-time digital signal processing mechanism is implemented with a very simple processor consisting of a set of asynchronous comparators, delay cells, and combinatorial logic. To eliminate the need for current measurement and calculate the optimal switching sequence of the power stage transistors, the processor performs a capacitor charge balance algorithm, which is based on the detection of the output voltage peak/valley point. The effectiveness of the controller is demonstrated on an experimental 5 W, 5 V to 1.8 V, 400 kHz buck converter. The converter recovers from load transients through a single on-off action of the power switch, virtually reaching the shortest possible time, limited by the values of the power stage filter components only.
Date of Publication: March 2008