Power for Microsystems

Report No. ARL-TR-5441
Authors: Brain Morgan, Sarah Bedair, Christopher Meyer, Christopher Dougherty, Lin Xue, David Arnold, Rizwan Bashirullah, Jeffrey Pulskamp, and Ronald G. Polcawich
Date/Pages: February 2011; 26 pages
Abstract: This report details progress on developing cubic millimeter power converters in an attempt to bridge the gap between sources and loads in emerging military microsystems. A multi-pronged approach has been pursued that includes fundamental modeling of high frequency converter topologies that are necessary to achieve the desired size scale while also addressing the myriad voltage and power requirements envisioned. Prototype converters have been designed and tested, demonstrating state-of-the-art conversion ratios for such devices. The high converter operation frequency used enabled the development of high performance micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) passive components that demonstrated similar performance to commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) inductors while offering up to a 10 times reduction in area and a 100 times reduction in volume. Parallel research paths have emerged, including the development of a novel nanoparticle self-assembly technique capable of creating high frequency capacitors and inductors without resorting to complicated fabrication sequences or high temperature processing. We have also leveraged close collaborations within the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) to develop piezo-MEMS resonant transformers, which hold tremendous potential for micron-scale point-of-load conversion while maintaining or exceeding the high power densities achieved at larger scales. In total, this research has demonstrated key enabling technologies for efficient power distribution within compact military systems at the cubic millimeter scale while maintaining competitive efficiencies and handling relevant voltages.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: February 1, 2011