The forgotten converter
In the world of analog power-supply design, the inductive DC/DC converter and low-dropout (LDO) regulator are often thought of as key building blocks. While it is true that the high efficiency of inductive converters and the simplicity of LDOs are attractive when attacking a design, another type of converter exists that falls in the middle of these approaches. A charge pump or switched-capacitor converter is a kind of switching regulator that delivers power by charging and discharging capacitors. A charge pump provides ease of use, small solution size and ruggedness not found in the inductive alternative. This paper discusses the pros and cons of charge-pump converter topologies and covers component-selection guidelines.
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