App note: The behavior of electro-magnetic radiation of power inductors in power management


Würth Elektronik app note on EM radiation emission from power inductors. Link here (PDF)

DC-DC converters are widely used in power management applications and the inductor is one of the key components. The usual focus is on electrical performance characteristics such as RDC, RAC and core losses. But, the electro-magnetic radiation characteristics can often be overlooked.

Due to the switching action in SMPS, AC voltage/current is produced over the inductor. Since, an inductor can, in effect, operate as a transmitting loop antenna, the electromagnetic radiation depends on a number of factors. These include the source properties such as core material, shielding material and the orientation of the start of the winding amongst others.

Electromagnetic radiation of an inductor in the low frequency spectrum range (100 kHz to 30 MHz), which is caused by the switching frequency and harmonics, is dependent on whether the inductor is shielded and the winding properties. Whereas, in the high frequency spectrum range (30 MHz to 1 GHz), where emissions are caused by ringing frequencies and their harmonics, the electromagnetic radiation is more dependent on the shielding characteristics of the core material, switching frequency and transitions of the switching converter.