App note: Using trench technology MOSFETs in hot swap applications


Safely use trench MOSFETs on hot swap application by determining its operation within its SOA in a limited time, app note from International Rectifier. Link here (PDF)

Hot Swap circuits are used to allow for “Hot Plugging” of circuit boards into back planes. The applications that require such functionality are mission critical, such as servers and communications equipment that must operate continuously. These circuit boards are usually employed in a rack mount system which consists of an array of boards that cannot be powered down. Thus hot swapping allows for a bad board in the array to be replaced without powering down the entire system.

In essence the Hot Swap circuit, which is between the board input rail and the rest of the board’s circuitry, is an inrush current limiter that allows for charging of the bulk capacitance in a controlled manner. Also faults, such as over current and overvoltage are managed by Hot Swap circuits.

App note: Class D audio amplifier performance relationship to MOSFET parameters


Application note from International Rectifier on MOSFET paremeters to consider when designing a Class D audio amplifier. Link here (PDF)

Class D audio amplifier is a switching amplifier that consists in a pulse width modulator (with switching frequency in order of several hundred kHz), a power bridge circuit and a low pass filter. This type of amplifier has demonstrated to have a very good performance. These include power efficiencies over 90%, THD under 0.01%, and low EMI noise levels that can be achieved with a good amplifier design.

Key factors to achieve high performance levels in the amplifier are the switches in power bridge circuit. Power losses, delay times, and voltage and current transient spikes should be minimized as much as possible in these switches in order to improve amplifier performance. Therefore, switches with low voltage drop, fast on and off switching times and low parasitic inductance are needed in this amplifier.

MOSFET have proved to be the best switch option for this amplifier because of its switching speed. It is a majority carrier device, its switching times are faster in comparison with other devices such as IGBT or BJT, resulting in better amplifier efficiency and linearity.

App note: Gate drive characteristics and requirements for HEXFET power MOSFETs


App note from International Rectifier on driving their Power MOSFETs. Link here (PDF)

The conventional bipolar transistor is a current-driven device. A current must be applied between the base and emitter terminals to produce a flow of current in the collector. The amount of a drive required to produce a given output depends upon the gain, but invariably a current must be made to flow into the base terminal to produce a flow of current in the collector.

The HEXFET®is fundamentally different: it is a voltage-controlled power MOSFET device. A voltage must be applied between the gate and source terminals to produce a flow of current in the drain. The gate is isolated electrically from the source by a layer of silicon dioxide. Theoretically, therefore, no current flows into the gate when a DC voltage is applied to it though in practice there will be an extremely small current, in the order of nanoamperes. With no voltage applied between the gate and source electrodes, the impedance between the drain and source terminals is very high, and only the leakage current flows in the drain.

App note: Power factor correction using the IRS2500


Drop in replacement power factor correction chip IRS2500 from International Rectifier. Link here (PDF)

Many offline applications require power factor correction circuitry in order to minimize transmission line losses and stress on electrical generators and transformers created by high harmonic content and phase shift. Appliances often incorporate switching power supplies (SMPS) which include capacitive filter circuitry followed by a bridge rectifier and bulk capacitor supplying a load. Without power factor correction circuitry a SMPS draws a high peak current close to the line voltage peak and almost no current over much of the cycle, resulting in a power factor of around 0.5 and a high total harmonic distortion. Power factor correction circuitry is added which enables the appliance to draw a sinusoidal current from the AC line with negligible phase shift and very low harmonic distortion. This allows optimization of the load seen by the power grid such that power can be supplied without creating additional conductive losses in transmission lines or additional burden on transformers and generators. Costs to electricity providers are therefore reduced, which are hopefully passed on to the consumer.