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Theses Doctoral

Integrated Voltage Regulators with Thin-Film Magnetic Power Inductors

Sturcken, Noah

Integration of alternative materials and devices with CMOS will expand functionality and improve performance of established applications in the era of diminishing returns from Moore's Law scaling. In particular, integration of thin-film magnetic materials will enable improvements in energy efficiency of digital computing applications by enabling integrated power conversion and management with on-chip power inductors. Integrated voltage reg- ulators will also enable fine-grained power management, by providing dynamic scaling of the supply voltage in concert with the clock frequency of synchronous logic to throttle power consumption at periods of low computational demand. Implementation of integrated power conversion requires high capacity energy storage devices. This is best achieved with integration of thin-film magnetic materials for high quality on-chip power inductors. This thesis describes a body of work conducted to develop integrated switch-mode voltage regulators with thin-film magnetic power inductors. Soft-magnetic materials and inductor topologies are selected and optimized, with intent to maximize efficiency and current density of the integrated regulators. Custom integrated circuits are designed and fabricated in 45nm-SOI to provide the control system and power-train necessary to drive the power inductors. A silicon interposer is designed and fabricated in collaboration with IBM Research to integrate custom power inductors by 2.5D chip stacking, enabling power conversion with current density greater than 10A/mm2. The concepts and designs developed from this work will enable significant improvements in performance-per-watt of future microprocessors.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Electrical Engineering
Thesis Advisors
Shepard, Kenneth
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 18, 2013