Switched-capacitor DC-DC converters are useful alternatives to inductor-based converters in many low-power and medium-power applications. This work develops a straightforward analysis method to determine a switched-capacitor converter's output impedance (a measure of performance and power loss). This resistive impedance is a function of frequency and has two asymptotic limits, one corresponding to very high switching frequency where resistive paths dominate the impedance, and one corresponding to very low switching frequency where charge transfers among idealized capacitors dominate the impedance. An optimization method is developed to improve the performance of these converters through component sizing based on practical constraints. Several switched-capacitor converter topologies are compared in the two asymptotic limits. Switched-capacitor converter performance (based on conduction loss) is compared with that of two magnetics-based DC-DC converters. At moderate to high conversion ratios, the switched-capacitor converter has significantly less conduction loss than an inductor-based buck converter. Some aspects of converter implementation are discussed, including the power loss due to device parasitics and methods for transistor control. Implementation using both integrated and discrete devices is discussed. With the correct analysis methods, switched-capacitor DC-DC converters can provide an attractive alternative to conventional power converters.




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