A highly efficient GHz switching GaN-based synchronous buck converter module

A. Wentzel, O. Hilt, J. Würfl and W. Heinrich

Published in:

Int. J. Microwave Wireless Technolog., vol. 12, no. 10, Special Issue: EuMCE 2019 Special Issue Part II, pp. 945-953, doi:10.1017/S1759078720000380 (2020).

Copyright © Cambridge University Press and the European Microwave Association 2020.
Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the Cambridge University Press and the European Microwave Association.


The paper presents a highly efficient GaN-based synchronous buck converter suitable for switching in the lower GHz range. The module includes a very compact 2-stage GaN half-bridge converter MMIC (monolithic microwave integrated circuit) for low parasitic inductances between switches and drivers and a hybrid output network with core-less inductors to avoid ferrite losses. At 1 GHz switching frequency the buck converter achieves with pulse-width modulated (PWM) input signals power loop conversion efficiencies up to 78% for 40 V operation and output voltages up to 33 V. For 100 MHz the power loop efficiencies peak at 87.5% for 14.5 W conversion to 25 V. By changing the output network to a 2nd order low-pass with 700 MHz cut-off frequency the module has been characterized for the use as a supply modulator in very broadband envelope tracking systems with modulation bandwidths of up to 500 MHz. For 1 GHz switching frequency the power-added efficiency peaks at 74% for a 90% duty-cycle PWM input signal. The novelty of this work is that for the first time a buck converter design proves highest flexibility supporting different applications from very compact DC converters to microwave power amplifier efficiency enhancement techniques as well as efficient high frequency switching up to 1 GHz.

Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik, Berlin, Germany


Buck converter; DC/DC converter; GaN;power amplifiers; envelope tracking