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Patent Analysis of

Embedded magnetic component transformer device

Updated Time 12 June 2019

Patent Registration Data

Publication Number

US10002703

Application Number

US14/883866

Application Date

15 October 2015

Publication Date

19 June 2018

Current Assignee

MURATA MANUFACTURING CO., LTD.

Original Assignee (Applicant)

MURATA MANUFACTURING CO., LTD.

International Classification

H01F27/28,H02M3/28

Cooperative Classification

H01F27/2804,H01F27/2895,H01F2027/2809,H02M3/28

Inventor

WANG, JING,FRANCIS, LEE,KNELLER, QUINN

Patent Images

This patent contains figures and images illustrating the invention and its embodiment.

US10002703 Embedded magnetic component transformer 1 US10002703 Embedded magnetic component transformer 2 US10002703 Embedded magnetic component transformer 3
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Abstract

An embedded transformer device includes first, second, and auxiliary windings, defined in an insulating substrate by conductive vias joined together by conductive traces. The positions of the conductive vias are arranged to optimize the isolation properties of the transformer, while the conductive traces are arranged to optimize the coupling between the primary and secondary side windings. The embedded transformer device provides favourable isolation and energy transfer between input side and output side windings, in a device with a small component size.

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Claims

1. An embedded transformer device, comprising: an insulating substrate including a first side and a second side opposite the first side, and including a cavity therein, the cavity including an inner and an outer periphery; a magnetic core housed in the cavity including a first section and a second section; a first winding extending through the insulating substrate and around the first section of the magnetic core; and a second winding extending through the insulating substrate and around the second section of the magnetic core; wherein the first winding and the second winding are located in separate regions from each other in the insulating substrate;each of the first and second windings include: upper conductive traces located on the first side of the insulating substrate; lower conductive traces located on the second side of the insulating substrate; inner conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to an inner periphery of the magnetic core, the inner conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces; and outer conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to an outer periphery of the magnetic core, the outer conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces; the upper and lower conductive traces and the inner and outer conductive connectors define respective turns of the first and second windings; one of the first and second windings includes fewer turns than the other first or second windings, and the upper and lower conductive traces of the one of the first and second electrical windings are wider than the upper and lower conductive traces of the other of the first or second electrical windings; and the upper and/or lower conductive traces of the first winding and the upper and/or lower conductive traces of the second winding are provided on a same layer of the insulating substrate.

2. The embedded transformer device of claim 1, wherein for the one of the first and second windings, the upper or lower conductive traces extend in a radial direction from the outer conductive connectors to the inner conductive connectors; and in a width direction, the upper or lower conductive traces extend perpendicularly or substantially perpendicularly to the radial direction, extending over at least a portion of a space between adjacent outer and inner conductive vias.

3. The embedded transformer device of claim 2, wherein the upper and lower conductive traces include a narrow spacing there between and are wide in the width direction.

4. The embedded transformer device of claim 1, wherein for the one of the first and second windings, the upper and lower conductive traces include a tapering width, with a wide section where the upper and lower traces meet the outer conductive connectors, and a narrower section where the upper and lower traces meet the inner conductive connectors.

5. The embedded transformer device of claim 1, wherein: one of the first and second windings includes at least one or more conductive regions located on the first or the second side of the insulating substrate and connected to a first or a last conductive connector in the one of the first and second windings; the at least one or more conductive regions include a triangular shape or a substantially triangular shape located between a first edge, a second edge, and a third edge; and the second edge and third edge define a right angle or a substantial right angle.

6. An embedded transformer device according to claim 1, wherein: the inner conductive connectors of the first winding are arranged in a plurality of curved rows, each of the plurality of curved rows being positioned at a constant or substantially constant distance from an inner periphery of the cavity; the inner conductive connectors of the second winding are arranged in a first curved row positioned at a constant or substantially constant distance from the inner periphery of the cavity that is large enough to allow a second curved row of inner conductive connectors to be accommodated between the first curved row and the inner periphery of the cavity; and the outer conductive connectors of the second winding are arranged in a first curved row positioned at a constant or substantially constant distance from the outer periphery of the cavity that is large enough to allow a second curved row of outer conductive connectors to be accommodated between the first curved row and the outer periphery of the cavity.

7. The embedded transformer device of claim 6, wherein: the inner conductive connectors of the first winding on a curved row closest to the inner periphery of the cavity are arranged on a first circular or substantially circular arc including a first radius; the inner conductive connectors of the second winding on the first curved row are arranged on a second circular or substantially circular arc, concentric to the first circular or substantially circular arc, including a second radius; and the first radius is greater than the second radius.

8. The embedded transformer device of claim 6, wherein the first winding is spaced apart from the second winding so that electrical isolation is provided between the first winding and the second winding.

9. The embedded transformer device of claim 1, further comprising: a first isolation barrier located on the first side of the insulating substrate, covering at least a portion of the first side between the first winding and the second winding where the first winding and second winding are closest, and defining a solid bonded joint with the first side of the insulating substrate; and a second isolation barrier located on the second side of the insulating substrate covering at least a portion of the second side between the first winding and the second winding where the first winding and second winding are closest, and defining a solid bonded joint with the second side of the insulating substrate.

10. The embedded transformer device of claim 1, further comprising:an auxiliary winding, extending through the insulating substrate and around the magnetic core, the auxiliary winding including: upper conductive traces located on the first side of the insulating substrate; lower conductive traces located on the second side of the insulating substrate; inner conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to the inner periphery of the magnetic core, the inner conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces; and outer conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to the outer periphery of the magnetic core, the outer conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces; wherein the inner conductive connectors of the auxiliary winding are arranged in a plurality of curved rows, each of the plurality of curved rows being positioned at a constant or substantially constant distance from the inner periphery of the cavity.

11. The embedded transformer device of claim 10, wherein the auxiliary winding is spaced apart from the second winding so that electrical isolation is provided between the auxiliary winding and the second winding.

12. The embedded transformer device of claim 11, wherein the one of the first or second windings is the second winding, the second winding defines the secondary side of a transformer winding.

13. A power converter comprising the embedded transformer device of claim 1, further comprising a Royer circuit connected to the first winding, and a synchronized rectifier circuit connected to the second winding.

14. An embedded transformer device, comprising: an insulating substrate including a first side and a second side opposite the first side, and including a cavity therein, the cavity including an inner and an outer periphery; a magnetic core housed in the cavity including a first section and a second section; a first winding, extending through the insulating substrate and around the first section of the magnetic core; a second winding, extending through the insulating substrate and around the second section of the magnetic core; wherein the first winding and the second winding are located in separate regions from each other in the insulating substrate;each of the first and second windings includes: upper conductive traces located on the first side of the insulating substrate; lower conductive traces located on the second side of the insulating substrate; inner conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to an inner periphery of the magnetic core, the inner conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces; and outer conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to an outer periphery of the magnetic core, the outer conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces; the upper and/or lower conductive traces of the first winding and the upper and/or lower conductive traces of the second winding are provided on a same layer of the insulating substrate; the upper and lower conductive traces and the inner and outer conductive connectors define respective turns of the first and second windings; for one of the first and second windings, the upper or lower conductive traces extend in a radial direction from the outer conductive connectors to the inner conductive connectors; and in a width direction, the upper or lower conductive traces extend perpendicularly or substantially perpendicularly to the radial direction, extending over at least a portion of a space between adjacent outer conductive connectors.

15. An embedded transformer device, comprising: an insulating substrate including a first side and a second side opposite the first side, and including a cavity therein, the cavity including an inner and an outer periphery; a magnetic core housed in the cavity including a first section and a second section; a first winding, extending through the insulating substrate and around the first section of the magnetic core; a second winding, extending through the insulating substrate and around the second section of the magnetic core; wherein the first winding and the second winding are located in separate regions from each other in the insulating substrate;each of the first and second windings includes: upper conductive traces located on the first side of the insulating substrate; lower conductive traces located on the second side of the insulating substrate; inner conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to an inner periphery of the magnetic core, the inner conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces; and outer conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to an outer periphery of the magnetic core, the outer conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces; the upper and/or lower conductive traces of the first winding and the upper and/or lower conductive traces of the second winding are provided on a same layer of the insulating substrate; the upper and lower conductive traces and the inner and outer conductive connectors define respective turns of the first and second windings;for at least one of the first and second electrical windings: a spacing between at least a portion of adjacent upper conductive traces is smaller than a spacing between adjacent outer conductive connectors; and a spacing between at least a portion of adjacent lower conductive traces is smaller than a spacing between the adjacent outer conductive connectors.

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Claim Tree

  • 1
    1. An embedded transformer device, comprising:
    • an insulating substrate including a first side and a second side opposite the first side, and including a cavity therein, the cavity including an inner and an outer periphery
    • a magnetic core housed in the cavity including a first section and a second section
    • a first winding extending through the insulating substrate and around the first section of the magnetic core
    • and a second winding extending through the insulating substrate and around the second section of the magnetic core
    • wherein the first winding and the second winding are located in separate regions from each other in the insulating substrate
    • each of the first and second windings include: upper conductive traces located on the first side of the insulating substrate
    • lower conductive traces located on the second side of the insulating substrate
    • inner conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to an inner periphery of the magnetic core, the inner conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces
    • and outer conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to an outer periphery of the magnetic core, the outer conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces
    • the upper and lower conductive traces and the inner and outer conductive connectors define respective turns of the first and second windings
    • one of the first and second windings includes fewer turns than the other first or second windings, and the upper and lower conductive traces of the one of the first and second electrical windings are wider than the upper and lower conductive traces of the other of the first or second electrical windings
    • and the upper and/or lower conductive traces of the first winding and the upper and/or lower conductive traces of the second winding are provided on a same layer of the insulating substrate.
    • 2. The embedded transformer device of claim 1, wherein
      • for the one of the first and second windings, the upper or lower conductive traces extend in a radial direction from the outer conductive connectors to the inner conductive connectors; and in a width direction, the upper or lower conductive traces extend perpendicularly or substantially perpendicularly to the radial direction, extending over at least a portion of a space between adjacent outer and inner conductive vias.
    • 4. The embedded transformer device of claim 1, wherein
      • for the one of the first and second windings, the upper and lower conductive traces include a tapering width, with a wide section where the upper and lower traces meet the outer conductive connectors, and a narrower section where the upper and lower traces meet the inner conductive connectors.
    • 5. The embedded transformer device of claim 1, wherein
      • : one of the first and second windings includes at least one or more conductive regions located on the first or the second side of the insulating substrate and connected to a first or a last conductive connector in the one of the first and second windings; the at least one or more conductive regions include a triangular shape or a substantially triangular shape located between a first edge, a second edge, and a third edge; and the second edge and third edge define a right angle or a substantial right angle.
    • 6. An embedded transformer device according to claim 1, wherein
      • : the inner conductive connectors of the first winding are arranged in a plurality of curved rows, each of the plurality of curved rows being positioned at a constant or substantially constant distance from an inner periphery of the cavity; the inner conductive connectors of the second winding are arranged in a first curved row positioned at a constant or substantially constant distance from the inner periphery of the cavity that is large enough to allow a second curved row of inner conductive connectors to be accommodated between the first curved row and the inner periphery of the cavity; and the outer conductive connectors of the second winding are arranged in a first curved row positioned at a constant or substantially constant distance from the outer periphery of the cavity that is large enough to allow a second curved row of outer conductive connectors to be accommodated between the first curved row and the outer periphery of the cavity.
    • 9. The embedded transformer device of claim 1, further comprising:
      • a first isolation barrier located on the first side of the insulating substrate, covering at least a portion of the first side between the first winding and the second winding where the first winding and second winding are closest, and defining a solid bonded joint with the first side of the insulating substrate
      • and a second isolation barrier located on the second side of the insulating substrate covering at least a portion of the second side between the first winding and the second winding where the first winding and second winding are closest, and defining a solid bonded joint with the second side of the insulating substrate.
    • 10. The embedded transformer device of claim 1, further comprising:
      • an auxiliary winding, extending through the insulating substrate and around the magnetic core, the auxiliary winding including: upper conductive traces located on the first side of the insulating substrate
      • lower conductive traces located on the second side of the insulating substrate
      • inner conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to the inner periphery of the magnetic core, the inner conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces
      • and outer conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to the outer periphery of the magnetic core, the outer conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces
      • wherein the inner conductive connectors of the auxiliary winding are arranged in a plurality of curved rows, each of the plurality of curved rows being positioned at a constant or substantially constant distance from the inner periphery of the cavity.
  • 13
    13. A power converter comprising
    • the embedded transformer device of claim 1, further comprising a Royer circuit connected to the first winding, and a synchronized rectifier circuit connected to the second winding.
  • 14
    14. An embedded transformer device, comprising:
    • an insulating substrate including a first side and a second side opposite the first side, and including a cavity therein, the cavity including an inner and an outer periphery
    • a magnetic core housed in the cavity including a first section and a second section
    • a first winding, extending through the insulating substrate and around the first section of the magnetic core
    • a second winding, extending through the insulating substrate and around the second section of the magnetic core
    • wherein the first winding and the second winding are located in separate regions from each other in the insulating substrate
    • each of the first and second windings includes: upper conductive traces located on the first side of the insulating substrate
    • lower conductive traces located on the second side of the insulating substrate
    • inner conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to an inner periphery of the magnetic core, the inner conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces
    • and outer conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to an outer periphery of the magnetic core, the outer conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces
    • the upper and/or lower conductive traces of the first winding and the upper and/or lower conductive traces of the second winding are provided on a same layer of the insulating substrate
    • the upper and lower conductive traces and the inner and outer conductive connectors define respective turns of the first and second windings
    • for one of the first and second windings, the upper or lower conductive traces extend in a radial direction from the outer conductive connectors to the inner conductive connectors
    • and in a width direction, the upper or lower conductive traces extend perpendicularly or substantially perpendicularly to the radial direction, extending over at least a portion of a space between adjacent outer conductive connectors.
  • 15
    15. An embedded transformer device, comprising:
    • an insulating substrate including a first side and a second side opposite the first side, and including a cavity therein, the cavity including an inner and an outer periphery
    • a magnetic core housed in the cavity including a first section and a second section
    • a first winding, extending through the insulating substrate and around the first section of the magnetic core
    • a second winding, extending through the insulating substrate and around the second section of the magnetic core
    • wherein the first winding and the second winding are located in separate regions from each other in the insulating substrate
    • each of the first and second windings includes: upper conductive traces located on the first side of the insulating substrate
    • lower conductive traces located on the second side of the insulating substrate
    • inner conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to an inner periphery of the magnetic core, the inner conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces
    • and outer conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to an outer periphery of the magnetic core, the outer conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces
    • the upper and/or lower conductive traces of the first winding and the upper and/or lower conductive traces of the second winding are provided on a same layer of the insulating substrate
    • the upper and lower conductive traces and the inner and outer conductive connectors define respective turns of the first and second windings
    • for at least one of the first and second electrical windings: a spacing between at least a portion of adjacent upper conductive traces is smaller than a spacing between adjacent outer conductive connectors
    • and a spacing between at least a portion of adjacent lower conductive traces is smaller than a spacing between the adjacent outer conductive connectors.
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Description

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an embedded magnetic component transformer device, and in particular to an embedded magnetic component transformer devices with reduced coupling and improved isolation properties.

2. Description of the Related Art

It is known, for example, in US 2011/0108317 A1, to provide low profile transformers and inductors in which the magnetic components are embedded in a cavity in a resin substrate, and the necessary input and output electrical connections for the transformer or inductor are formed on the substrate surface. A printed circuit board (PCB) for a power supply device can then be formed by adding layers of solder resist and copper plating to the top and/or bottom surfaces of the substrate. The necessary electronic components for the device may then be surface mounted on the PCB.

Compared to conventional transformers, an embedded design allows a significantly thinner and more compact device to be built. This is desirable because typically the space available for mounting the transformer device onto a PCB, for example, a motherboard of an electronics device, will be very limited. A transformer component with a smaller footprint will therefore enable more components to be mounted onto the PCB, or enable the overall size of the PCB and therefore the entire device to be reduced.

In transformer design, it is desirable to optimize the energy transfer between the primary and the secondary transformer windings. Typical factors that may degrade or impede efficient energy transfer include the resistance of the windings themselves, sometimes called ‘copper loss’, and poor coupling of the magnetic field between the primary and the secondary sides.

In order to mitigate the first of these factors, known transformer design often use leads to connect to the windings that are as short as possible, thereby reducing their associated electrical resistance. Short leads or connections are, however, relatively difficult to produce and are therefore labor intensive. This results in increased costs of production and occasionally reduced reliability for the finished device.

To address the coupling problem, the primary and secondary windings may be placed very close to one another. In alternative designs, the primary and secondary windings may be interleaved. However, while placing the primary and secondary windings close to one another aids with coupling, there remains a conflicting need to electrically isolate the primary winding from the secondary winding. In isolated transformer designs, a high isolation level is usually achieved by physically separating the primary and secondary windings from one another. Without significant physical separation, isolation can be achieved by using insulation materials. For wound transformers, for example, triple insulated wire may be used. For an embedded transformer designs, isolation may be improved by using conformal coatings or core covers to insulate the ferrite magnetic core. Windings may also be insulated with insulating tape, or may be separated by increasing the size of the transformer or by using multi-layer PCBs, thereby putting different windings on different layers. However, all of these techniques increase size and add cost to the production process.

Thus, there is a need for an embedded magnetic component transformer design, capable of being downsized, while preserving isolation and optimizing energy transfer.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A preferred embodiment of the present invention provides an embedded transformer device including: an insulating substrate including a first side and a second side opposite the first side, and including a cavity therein, the cavity including an inner and an outer periphery; a magnetic core housed in the cavity including a first section and a second section; a first winding extending through the insulating substrate and around the first section of the magnetic core; a second winding extending through the insulating substrate and around the second section of the magnetic core. Each of the first and second windings include: upper conductive traces located on the first side of the insulating substrate; lower conductive traces located on the second side of the insulating substrate; inner conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to the inner periphery of the magnetic core, the inner conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces; and outer conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to the outer periphery of the magnetic core, the outer conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces; the upper and lower conductive traces and inner and outer conductive connectors defining respective turns of the first and second windings; wherein one of the first and second windings includes fewer turns than the other of the first or second windings, and the upper and lower conductive traces of the one of the first and second windings are wider than the upper and lower conductive traces of the other of the first or second windings.

For the one of the first and second windings, the upper or lower conductive traces may extend in a radial direction from the outer conductive connectors to the inner conductive connectors, and in a width direction the upper or lower conductive traces may extend perpendicularly or substantially perpendicularly to the radial direction, extending over at least a portion of a space between adjacent outer and inner conductive vias.

The upper and lower conductive traces may further include a narrow spacing there between and may be wide in the width direction.

For the one of the first and second windings, the upper and lower conductive traces may include a tapering width, with a wide section where the upper and lower traces meet the outer conductive connectors, and a narrower section where the upper and lower traces meet the inner conductive connectors.

One of the first and second windings may also include at least one or more conductive regions located on the first or the second side of the insulating substrate and connected to first or last conductive connectors in the one of the first and second windings, the at least one or more conductive regions include a triangular shape or a substantially triangular shape located between a first edge, a second edge, and a third edge, wherein the second edge and third edge define a right angle or a substantial right angle.

The inner conductive connectors of the first winding may be arranged in a plurality of curved rows, each curved row being positioned at a constant or substantially constant distance from the inner periphery of the cavity. The inner conductive connectors of the second winding may be arranged in a first curved row positioned at a constant or substantially constant distance from the inner periphery of the cavity, and the constant or substantially constant distance being large enough to allow a second curved row of inner conductive connectors to be accommodated between the first curved row and the inner periphery of the cavity. The outer conductive connectors of the second winding may be arranged in a first curved row positioned at a constant or substantially constant distance from the outer periphery of the cavity, and the constant or substantially constant distance being large enough to allow a second curved row of outer conductive connectors to be accommodated between the first curved row and the outer periphery of the cavity.

The inner conductive connectors of the first winding on the curved row closest to the inner periphery of the cavity may be arranged on a first circular or substantially circular arc including a first radius; the inner conductive connectors of the second winding on the first curved row may be arranged on a second circular or substantially circular arc, concentric to the first circular or substantially circular arc, including a second radius; and the first radius may be greater than the second radius.

The first winding may be spaced apart from the second winding so that electrical isolation is provided between the first winding and the second winding.

The embedded transformer device may further include: a first isolation barrier located on the first side of the insulating substrate, covering at least a portion of the first side between the first winding and the second winding where the first winding and second winding are closest, and defining a solid bonded joint with the first side of the insulating substrate; and a second isolation barrier located on the second side of the insulating substrate covering at least a portion of the second side between the first winding and the second winding where the first winding and second winding are closest, and defining a solid bonded joint with the second side of the insulating substrate.

The embedded transformer device may further include: an auxiliary winding, extending through the insulating substrate and around the magnetic core, the auxiliary winding including: upper conductive traces located on the first side of the insulating substrate; lower conductive traces located on the second side of the insulating substrate; inner conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to the inner periphery of the magnetic core, the inner conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces; and outer conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to the outer periphery of the magnetic core, the inner conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces; wherein the inner conductive connectors of the auxiliary winding may be arranged in a plurality of curved rows, each curved row being positioned at a constant or substantially constant distance from the inner periphery of the cavity.

The auxiliary winding may be spaced apart from the second winding so that electrical isolation is provided between the auxiliary winding and the second winding.

The one of the first and second winding may be the second winding, and the second side winding may define the secondary side of a transformer winding.

A preferred embodiment of the present invention provides a power converter including the embedded transformer device, a Royer circuit connected to the first winding, and a synchronized rectifier circuit connected to the second winding.

A preferred embodiment of the present invention provides an embedded transformer device including: an insulating substrate including a first side and a second side opposite the first side, and including a cavity therein, the cavity including an inner and an outer periphery; a magnetic core housed in the cavity including a first section and a second section; a first winding, extending through the insulating substrate and around the first section of the magnetic core; a second winding, extending through the insulating substrate and around the second section of the magnetic core; each of the first and second windings including: upper conductive traces located on the first side of the insulating substrate; lower conductive traces located on the second side of the insulating substrate; inner conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to the inner periphery of the magnetic core, the inner conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces; and outer conductive connectors extending through the insulating substrate adjacent to the outer periphery of the magnetic core, the outer conductive connectors respectively defining electrical connections between respective upper conductive traces and respective lower conductive traces; the upper and lower conductive traces and inner and outer conductive connectors define respective turns of the first and second windings; wherein for the one of the first and second windings, the upper or lower conductive traces extend in a radial direction from the outer conductive connectors to the inner conductive connectors, and wherein in a width direction, the upper or lower conductive traces extend perpendicularly or substantially perpendicularly to the radial direction, extending over at least a portion of a space between adjacent outer and inner conductive vias.

Preferred embodiments of the present invention provide a method of manufacturing the embedded magnetic component device.

The above and other features, elements, characteristics, steps, and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the present invention with reference to the attached drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1A to 1G illustrate an example technique for manufacturing an embedded magnetic component device.

FIG. 2 illustrates a first preferred embodiment of the present invention in a top down view of the conductive vias defining a winding construction.

FIG. 3 illustrates the arrangement of the conductive vias in FIG. 2 and the inter-via and winding distances.

FIG. 4 illustrates the trace pattern for the arrangement of conductive vias in FIGS. 2 and 3.

FIG. 5 illustrates a preferred embodiment of the present invention where the embedded transformer device defines a portion of a self-oscillating push-pull circuit.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Preferred embodiments of the present invention include an embedded magnetic component transformer device including first, second, and auxiliary windings extending around a magnetic core embedded in a substrate. The embedded magnetic component transformer device may advantageously be used as a portion of switching power electronic devices, such as a Royer circuit. A first preferred embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 2 to 5 which will be discussed in detail below.

For ease of understanding, an example method of manufacturing an embedded magnetic component transformer device will now be described with reference to FIGS. 1A to 1F. Techniques for manufacturing an embedded magnetic component transformer device are described in UK patent applications GB 1414469.5 and GB 1414468.7 filed by the present applicant, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

In a first step of the method, illustrated in FIG. 1A, a circular annulus or cavity 302 for housing a magnetic core is routed in an insulating substrate 301. In this example, the insulating substrate is formed of a resin material, such as FR4. FR4 is a composite ‘pre-preg’material composed of woven fiberglass cloth impregnated with an epoxy resin binder. The resin is pre-dried, but not hardened, so that when it is heated, it flows and acts as an adhesive for the fiberglass material. FR4 has been found to have favorable thermal and insulation properties.

As shown in FIG. 1B, a circular magnetic core 304 is then installed in the cavity 302. The cavity 302 may be slightly larger than the magnetic core 304, so that an air gap may exist around the magnetic core 304. The magnetic core 304 may be installed in the cavity manually or by a surface mounting device such as a pick and place machine.

In the next step, illustrated in FIG. 1C, a first insulating layer or cover layer 305 is secured or laminated on the insulating substrate 301 to cover the cavity 302 and the magnetic core 304. Preferably, the cover layer 305 is formed of the same material as the insulating substrate 301 as this aids bonding between the top surface of the insulating substrate 301 and the lower surface of the cover layer 305. The cover layer 305 may therefore also be formed of a material such as FR4, laminated onto the insulating substrate 301. Lamination may be via adhesive or via heat activated bonding between layers of pre-preg material. In other preferred embodiments of the present invention, other materials may be used for the layer 305.

In the next step illustrated in FIG. 1D, though-holes 306 are formed through the insulating substrate 301 and the cover layer 305. The through holes 306 are formed at suitable locations to define the first and second coil conductor windings of an embedded transformer. The exact arrangement of the through-holes 306 will be described later, but a general pattern of through-holes including two arcs corresponding to the inner and outer circular circumferences of the cavity 302 is shown in FIG. 1D. As is known in the art, the through-holes 306 may be formed by drilling, or any other suitable technique.

As shown in FIG. 1E, the though-holes 306 are then plated to form conductive via holes 307 that extend from the top surface of the cover layer 305 to the bottom surface of the substrate 301. Conductive or metallic traces 308 are added to the top surface of the cover layer 305 to define an upper winding layer connecting the respective conductive via holes 307, and to form a portion of the windings of the transformer. The upper winding layer is illustrated by way of example in the right hand side of FIG. 1E. The metallic traces 308 and the plating for the conductive via holes 307 are usually formed from copper, and may be formed in any suitable way, such as by adding a copper conductor layer to the outer surfaces of the layer 305 which is then etched to form the necessary patterns, deposition of the copper onto the surface, and so on.

Metallic traces 308 are also formed on the bottom surface of the insulating substrate 301 to define a lower winding layer also connecting the respective conductive via holes 307 to a portion the windings of the transformer. The upper and lower winding layers 308 and the via holes 307 together define the windings of the transformer. In this illustration, only first and second side windings are illustrated.

As shown in FIGS. 1F and 1G, optional second and third insulating layers 309 may be formed on the top and bottom surfaces of the structure shown in FIG. 1E to define first and second isolation barriers. The layers may be secured in place by lamination or any other suitable technique.

In FIG. 1F, the bottom surface of the second insulating layer or first isolation barrier 309a adheres to the top surface of the cover layer 305 and covers the terminal lines 308 of the upper winding layer. The top surface of the third insulating layer or second isolation barrier 309b on the other hand adheres to the bottom surface of the substrate 301 and so covers the terminal lines 308 of the lower winding layer. Advantageously, the second and third insulating layers, i.e., first isolation barrier 309a and second isolation barrier 309b, may also be formed of FR4, and so laminated onto the insulating substrate 301 and cover layer 305 using the same process as for the cover layer 305.

Through-holes and via conductors are formed through the second and third insulating layers, i.e., first isolation barrier 309a and second isolation barrier 309b, in order to connect to the input and output terminals of the first and second transformer windings (not shown). Where the conductive via holes through the second and third insulating layers, i.e., first isolation barrier 309a and second isolation barrier 309b, are located apart from the conductive via holes 307 through the substrate 301 and the cover layer 305, a metallic trace is preferably provided on the upper winding layer connecting the input and output vias to the first and last via in each of the first and second windings. Where the input and output vias are formed in overlapping positions, then conductive or metallic caps could be added to the first and last via in each of the first and second windings.

In FIG. 1F, the first and second isolation barriers 309a and 309b define a solid bonded joint with the adjacent layers, either cover layer 305 or substrate 301, on which the upper or lower winding layers 308 of the transformer are formed. The first and second isolation barriers 309a and 309b therefore provide a solid insulated boundary along the surfaces of the embedded magnetic component device, greatly reducing the chance of arcing or breakdown, and allowing the isolation spacing between the first and second side windings to be greatly reduced.

The first and second isolation barriers 309a and 309b are formed on the substrate 301 and cover layer 305 without any air gap between the layers. If there is an air gap in the device, such as above or below the winding layers, then there would be a risk of arcing and failure of the device. The first and second isolation barriers 309a and 309b, the cover layer 305 and the substrate 301, therefore define a solid block of insulating material.

In FIG. 1F, the first and second isolation barriers 309a and 309b are illustrated as covering the whole of the cover layer 305 and the bottom surface of the substrate 301 of the embedded magnetic component device 300. In the alternative preferred embodiment of FIG. 1G, however, it is sufficient if the first and second isolation barriers 309a and 309b are applied to the cover layer 305 and the bottom of the substrate 301 so that they at least cover only the portion of the surface of the cover layer 305 and substrate 301 surface between the first and second windings, where the first and second windings are closest. As shown, the first and second isolation barriers 309a and 309b may then be provided as a long strip of insulating material placed on the surface parallel or substantially parallel to the shorter edge of the device and covering at least the isolation region between the first and second side windings. In alternative preferred embodiments, as the first and second side windings follow the arc of the magnetic core 304 around which they are wound, it may be sufficient to place the isolation barriers 309a and 309b only where the first and second side windings are closest, which in this case is at the 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock positions. As noted above, however, a full layer of the first and second isolation barriers 309a and 309b covering the entire surface of the embedded component device can be advantageous as it provides locations for further mounting of components on the surface of the device.

A first preferred embodiment of an embedded magnetic component transformer device will now be described with reference to FIGS. 2, 3, and 4. Such an embedded transformer device may be constructed according to the steps described in relation to FIGS. 1A to 1F.

As shown in FIG. 2, the embedded magnetic component transformer device includes a first winding in region 310 of the substrate, a second winding in the region 320 of the substrate, and an auxiliary winding in the region 330 of the substrate. These windings are located around a common magnetic transformer core 304 with an outer periphery 304a and an inner periphery 304b provided in the cavity 302. For the purposes of illustration the regions labelled 310, 320, 330 are respectively bounded by outlines 310a, 320a, 330a. As shown in FIG. 2, the regions 310, 320 and 330 are separate from one another and occupy discrete areas of the substrate. The windings do not therefore overlap with one another. The central island defined by the cavity 302 may be called the isolation region as it is designed to provide some space and therefore isolation between the first and second sides of the transformer.

The first, second, and auxiliary windings of the transformer are defined by upper and lower conductive traces formed on the top and bottom of the resin substrate as illustrated in FIG. 4 described below, connected by a plurality of respective conductive connectors extending through the substrate from one side to the other. The conductive connectors may be defined by plated via holes as described above, or maybe conductive pins or filaments. In FIGS. 2, 3, and 4 the conductive connectors are illustrated as plated vias.

The arrangement of the via holes defining the first, second, and auxiliary windings is significant as the spacing between the via holes themselves, together with the spacing between the via holes and the magnetic core, affects both the electrical isolation obtainable between the transformer windings, and the degree of coupling between the transformer windings.

In practice, however, the size of the embedded magnetic component transformer device limits the extent of the spacing available between the via holes. Nevertheless, it is often desirable to maximize the spacing between the vias because this leads to better isolation performance. The via hole spacing and trace design therefore provides improvements in the isolation characteristics and coupling of the windings, while still allowing a compact transformer device to be realized.

The structure of the separate windings will now be described in more detail.

The first winding of the transformer, located within region 310, includes first outer conductive vias 311, first inner conductive vias 312a and 312b, and upper and lower conductive traces linking the conductive vias (not shown in FIG. 2). The first outer conductive vias 311 are arranged in one row along the circular portion of the outer edge 302b of the cavity 302, and are split into two groups. The first inner conductive vias on the other hand are arranged in two rows: an outer row 312a which is closest to the inner edge 302a of the cavity 302, and an inner row 312b which is adjacent to the outer row 312a but farther from the inner edge 302a of the cavity and closer to the center of the isolation region 335.

The first transformer winding may include the same number of inner and outer conductive vias defining the complete first winding. This ensures that the terminals at either end of the first winding are on the same side, for example on top of the cover layer 305 or on the bottom of the insulating layer. Alternatively, it is also possible to form the first winding with an arrangement where there is one more inner conductive via than there are outer conductive vias, or where there is one fewer inner conductive vias than there are outer conductive vias. Such an arrangement means that the terminals at either end of the first winding are on opposing sides, with one on top of the cover 305 and one on the bottom of the insulating layer. Both of these alternatives, where the terminals are on the same or opposing sides, may be desirable depending on the location of the input and output circuitry to which the terminals are to be connected. The second and auxiliary windings may also be similarly arranged.

As shown in FIG. 2, the outer row 312a of the first inner conductive vias contains seven conductive vias spaced apart, whereas the inner row 312b of the first inner conductive vias contains nine conductive vias, also spaced apart but with less inter-via spacing than for the outer row 312a. Other configurations are possible, although this will alter the coupling between the first and second side windings. In FIG. 4, the first outer conductive vias 311 are only arranged in one row, with six conductive vias in a first group connected to conductive vias 312a, with ten conductive vias in a second group connected to conductive vias 312b, and with one conductive via in a third group connected on the bottom surface to a conductive via 312b. Other configurations, with a different distribution of the conductive vias between the groups, are also possible. As there are sixteen first inner conductive vias and sixteen first outer conductive vias, the first winding includes sixteen complete turns when the conductive vias are connected by the conducting traces.

The second winding of the transformer includes second outer conductive vias 321, second inner conductive vias 322, and conductive traces linking the conductive vias (as will be described in reference to FIG. 4). The second outer conductive vias 321 are arranged in a single row along the circular portion of the outer edge 302b of the cavity 302, and as with the conductive vias of the first winding they are split into two groups. The second inner conductive vias are also arranged in a single row 322.

The curved row of second inner conductive vias 322 is provided such that the conductive vias are at a constant or substantially constant distance from the inner edge 302a of the cavity 302. The distance between the row of second inner conductive vias 322 and the inner edge 302a of the cavity 302 is larger than that between the outer row of first inner conductive vias 312a and the inner edge 302a of the cavity 302. Preferably, the distance between the row of second inner conductive vias 322 and the inner edge 302a of the cavity 302 is large enough to accommodate another row of conductive vias between the row 322 and the inner edge 302a of the cavity 302.

The curved rows of second outer conductive vias 321 are also provided such that the conductive vias are at a constant or substantially constant distance from the outer edge 302b of the cavity 302. The distance between the rows of second outer conductive vias 321 and the outer edge 302b of the cavity 302 is larger than that between the row of first outer conductive vias 311 and the outer edge 302b of the cavity 302. Preferably, the distance between the rows of second outer conductive vias 321 and the outer edge 302b of the cavity 302 is large enough to accommodate another row of conductive vias between the rows 321 and the outer edge 302b of the cavity.

In the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the second inner conductive vias 322 include nine conductive vias, and the second outer conductive vias 321 include nine conductive vias, split into one group of four conductive vias and one group of five conductive vias. Therefore the second winding includes nine turns when the conductive vias are connected by the conducting traces. Other configurations are also possible.

The auxiliary winding of the transformer includes auxiliary outer conductive vias 331, auxiliary inner conductive vias 332a and 332b, and conductive traces linking the conductive vias (as shown in FIG. 4). The auxiliary outer conductive vias are arranged in one row along the circular portion of the outer edge 302b of the cavity 302. The auxiliary inner conductive vias are arranged in two rows: an outer row 332a which is closest to the inner edge 302a of the cavity 302, and an outer row 332b which is adjacent to the outer row 332a but farther from the inner edge 302a of the cavity 302.

As shown in FIG. 2, each of the outer row 332a and inner row 332b of the auxiliary inner conductive vias contains two vias, although other configurations are possible. The auxiliary outer conductive vias 331 are only provided in one row including four conductive vias. As there are four auxiliary inner conductive vias, the auxiliary winding includes four turns when the conductive vias are connected by the conducting traces.

In some preferred embodiments of the present invention, the voltage across the auxiliary winding is fed back to the input circuitry being used to energize the first winding, the auxiliary winding acting as a feedback winding. Alternatively or additionally, the auxiliary winding can be used to control some other aspect of the input and/or output circuitry. Other uses of the auxiliary winding could be to provide a housekeeping supply or to control a synchronous rectifier. More than one auxiliary winding could be provided, allowing more than one of these functions to be carried out. Other uses for the auxiliary windings are also possible.

When the transformer is in operation, the ratio of the voltages provided across the first, second, and auxiliary windings is proportional to the number of turns in each respective winding. Therefore, the number of turns in each winding can be chosen, by adding or removing conductive vias and conductive traces, in order to obtain desirable voltage ratios between the windings. This is particularly important in, for example, isolated DC to DC converters where strict requirements as to the output voltage will typically need to be met.

Optional terminations 340 provided in the substrate of the embedded transformer device are also shown. These may take the form of edge castellations providing for Surface Mount Application (SMA) connections from the embedded transformer device to a printed circuit board on which the embedded transformer device may be mounted. The cover layer 305 is arranged so as not to cover these terminations, to allow them to be connected to the other electrical components.

As explained above, the spacing between adjacent conductive vias and the spacing between the via holes and the magnetic core has implications for the electrical isolation between the transformer windings and the coupling between the first and second side windings. At the same time, it is desirable to provide a transformer device with a small footprint, thereby limiting the extent to which these spacings can be increased.

FIG. 3 shows the spacings between the windings and vias in more detail. FIG. 3 shows the identical arrangement of conductive vias shown in FIG. 2. Some components have not however been labelled in FIG. 3 for the sake of clarity. It should nevertheless be understood that all of the components that were labelled and described in relation to FIG. 2 also apply to the subsequent figures. For simplicity, the first and auxiliary windings will be jointly referred to as input side windings, which occupy a region 410 bounded by the line 410a. The second windings will by referred to as output side windings, which occupy a region 420 bounded by the line 420a.

Three different spacings have been taken into consideration in the design shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. Distance X1 illustrated in FIG. 3 is the isolation distance or minimum distance between the input side windings and the output side windings. As can be seen in FIG. 3, the gap in the isolation region 335 separating the input side inner conductive vias from the output side inner conductive vias is the minimum gap between the input side and output side windings. It is smaller than the gap outside the cavity 302 separating the input side outer conductive vias from the output side outer conductive vias. Further, the upper and lower conductive traces of the input side windings and the conductive trace of the output side windings that are closest to one another diverge from each other as they extend outwards from the center of the cavity 302 to the outer side of the substrate in a direction from the center of the embedded transformer to its outer edge. This means that distance X1 in the isolation region 335 is the closest distance between conductive vias of the input side windings and conductive vias of the output side windings.

The distance X2 is the minimum distance between the outer 321 and inner 322 conductive vias that define the output side (second) windings and the magnetic core 304. The distance between the upper and lower conductive traces and the magnetic core 304 is not considered here as the upper and lower conductive traces are provided above the cover layer 305, or below a layer of the insulating substrate provided below the cavity 302, with the result that the traces are better isolated from the magnetic core 304 than the conductive vias 321 and 322. In the arrangement of FIG. 3, this minimum distance occurs at the two locations labelled X2. As can be understood from FIG. 3, the distance X2 is significantly greater than the corresponding distance between the inner and outer conductive vias 311, 312, 331, and 332 on the input side windings and the magnetic core 304.

Finally, the distance X3 is the distance between the second outer conductive vias 321 and the second inner conductive vias 322. This distance is constant or substantially constant for all of the opposing second conductive vias (that is, all pairs of second inner and second outer conductive vias) that will be joined by a upper and lower conductive trace. In practice, small variations or tolerances in the distance are possible.

The significance of the distances X1, X2, and X3 will now be described with regard to insuring that the input side windings and output side windings are sufficiently isolated electrically from one another. Electrical isolation is necessary to prevent a breakdown in the gap between the windings occurring and the transformer windings from being subsequently shorted. The level of isolation between the input side and output side windings, that is the maximum voltage difference that the transformer can withstand between the input side and output side windings without electrical arcing, is determined by both the direct path between the input side and output side windings themselves and, because the magnetic core 304 is an electrical conductor, by an indirect path between the windings extending through the magnetic core 304.

The direct path between the input side and output side windings can be maximized by making the distance X1 as large as possible. The isolation is determined by the minimum distance X1 at the two locations shown in FIG. 3. This may be between the first winding and the second winding, or the auxiliary winding and the second winding. However, there is a practical limitation on the extent to which this distance can be increased because of the size of that portion of the insulating substrate enclosed within the magnetic core 304, the isolation region 335, which defines a limited space in which all of the inner conductive vias must be necessarily formed. It is undesirable for the central isolation region 335 and the transformer to be too large because space on the circuit board, to which the transformer will be connected, is at a premium. Therefore, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, a way of increasing the distance X1 while still keeping the same number of inner conductive vias is to provide those inner conductive vias on the input side windings in more than one row, for example, two rows 312a, 312b for the first winding, and two rows 332a, 332b for the auxiliary winding. This allows a larger separation between input side and output side inner conductive vias than would be achievable if a single row were used, as vias that would otherwise appear in the gap between the input side and output side windings can be accommodated in the second row of vias. Using multiple rows therefore enables the overall size of the transformer to be reduced compared to using only a single row, while still maintaining the required isolation characteristics.

The indirect path between the input side and output side windings, that is on a path extending through the magnetic core 304, can be maximized by making the distance between the conductive vias of the input side windings and the core 304, or between the conductive vias of the output side windings and the core 304, as large as possible. As the degree of isolation will be set by the greater of these two distances, it is necessary only to consider one of them when setting the size of the indirect isolation path.

In the preferred embodiment of FIGS. 2 and 3, the two-row staggered arrangement of inner conductive vias provided on the input side requires that some of the conductive vias are positioned closely to the magnetic core 304. This is necessary because there are more conductive vias on the input side than the output side, and is also necessary to maintain the distance X1 as described above. In contrast, the inner conductive vias on the output side are provided in only a single row, which enables them to be positioned further from the magnetic core increasing the distance X2. The outer conductive vias on the output side are also provided in a single row, again enabling them to be positioned further from the magnetic core. As shown in FIG. 3, the single row of inner conductive vias on the output side is separated or set back from the inner periphery of the cavity 302 by a distance sufficient to accommodate another row of vias. In other words, the row of vias closest to the cavity 302 on the input side is not continued around the inner periphery of the cavity 302 on the output side but is instead omitted to provide a further isolation gap.

In some preferred embodiments of the present invention, the inner conductive connectors of the first winding 312a on the curved row closest to the inner periphery 302a of the cavity 302 are arranged on a first circular or substantially circular arc including a first radius, and the inner conductive connectors of the second winding 322 are arranged on a second circular or substantially circular arc. The first and second circular arcs are concentric or substantially concentric, that is they share the same center. The radius of the first circular arc is greater than that of the second circular arc.

In some preferred embodiments of the present invention, the distance between the inner periphery 302a of the cavity 302 and the second inner conductive vias 322 is greater than or equal to the diameter of the first inner conductive vias 312a provided on the row closest to the inner periphery 302a of the cavity 302. This distance may also be greater than or equal to the diameter of the auxiliary inner conductive vias 332a provided on the row closest to the inner periphery 302a of the cavity 302.

In these preferred embodiments of the present invention, the indirect path is therefore maximized by making the distance X2, between the output side windings and the magnetic core 304, as large as possible. Overall, the electrical isolation is therefore determined by the minimum value of X1 and X2. This means that, for a certain minimum electrical isolation to be realized, both the distances X1 and X2 must be larger than a predetermined value.

The spacing and positions of the conductive vias not only affects the electrical isolation but also alters the coupling characteristics, for example, the amount of leakage inductance, between the different windings. This is because the leakage inductance results from imperfect magnetic flux linking through the windings due to the magnetic flux not being entirely constrained within the magnetic core. Some leakage inductance is desirable because it has the effect of providing an inductance in series with the transformer windings, which combined with the distributed capacitance that exists between adjacent transformer turns enables the transformer to act as an oscillating LC circuit, as will be explained in more detail below in relation to FIG. 5 (Royer Circuit diagram).

FIG. 4 shows complete first, second, and auxiliary windings formed by linking the conductive vias together by conductive traces 313, 323, and 333. The conductive traces 313, 323, and 333 shown with a solid outline are the upper conductive traces and are provided on the first side of the insulating substrate 301, whereas the conductive traces 313, 323, and 333 shown with a dashed outline are the lower conductive traces and are provided on the second side of the insulating substrate 301. The position and shape of the conductive traces on the upper and lower sides of the substrates varies slightly so as to make the necessary connections between the conductive vias 311, 312a, 312b, 331, 332a 332b, 321, and 322.

The first winding includes first outer conductive vias 311 linked by the conductive traces 313 to the first inner conductive vias 312a (for the outer row) and 312b (for the inner row). In the arrangement of FIG. 4, the turns making up the first winding alternatively pass through first inner conductive vias 312a and 312b as they loop around the core. As will be explained below, the first winding may include 8 bifilar turns (made up in total of 16 turns of traces and via hole pairs). Similarly, the second winding includes second outer conductive vias 321 linked by the conductive traces 323 to the second inner conductive vias 322, and the auxiliary winding includes auxiliary outer conductive vias 331 linked by the conductive traces 333a (for the outer row) and 333b (for the inner row) to the inner conductive vias 332a (for the outer row) and 332b (for the inner row). The second winding may include 9 single filar turns for the secondary side.

FIG. 4 shows complete first, second, and auxiliary windings formed by linking the conductive vias together by conductive traces 313, 323, and 333. The conductive traces 313, 323, and 333 shown with a solid outline are the upper conductive traces and are provided on the first side of the insulate substrate 301, whereas the conductive traces 313, 323, and 333 shown with a dashed outline are the lower conductive traces and are provided on the second side of the insulate substrate 301. The position and shape of the conductive traces on the upper and lower sides of the substrates can vary slightly so as to make the connections between the conductive vias 311, 312a, 312b, 331, 332a and 332b, and 321 and 322.

The first winding includes the first outer conductive vias 311 linked by the conductive traces 313 to the first inner conductive vias 312a (for the outer row) and 312b (for the inner row). In the arrangement of FIG. 4, the turns of the first winding alternatively pass through the first inner conductive vias 312a and 312b as they loop around the magnetic core 304. As will be explained below, the first winding may include 8 bifilar turns (e.g., including a total of 16 turns of traces and via hole pairs). Similarly, the second winding includes the second outer conductive vias 321 linked by the conductive traces 323 to the second inner conductive vias 322, and the auxiliary winding includes the auxiliary outer conductive vias 331 linked by the conductive traces 333a (for the outer row) and 333b (for the inner row) to the inner conductive vias 332a (for the outer row) and 332b (for the inner row). The second winding may include 9 single filar turns for the secondary side.

FIG. 4 also shows conductive regions 314, 324, and 334, which are provided to allow other electrical components to form connections with the first, second, and auxiliary windings respectively. As will be understood with reference to FIG. 5 for example, in FIG. 4, the three regions 314 are provided to connect to nodes 510, 512 and 514. Similarly, the three regions 334 are provided to connect to nodes 530, 532 and 534, and the two regions 324 connect to nodes 520 and 524. Conductive regions 314, 324 and 334 may define a portion of the turns of the respective windings. Further conductive vias can be provided through the insulating substrate 301 to link these conductive regions from one side of the insulating substrate to the other. To improve the clarity of FIG. 4, the magnetic core 304 is not shown, and not all of the conductive vias are labelled.

As shown in FIG. 4, the secondary side windings use a wider winding trace in comparison to the primary side windings. For the embedded transformer of FIG. 4, this means fewer via holes, and therefore fewer turns, on the secondary side. As a result, the spacing between adjacent outer conductive vias 321 is greater than the spacing between the inner conductive vias 322 on the secondary side, and is greater than corresponding spacing of adjacent conductive vias 311 on the primary side.

Further, the width of the conductive traces 323 on the secondary side is greater than the width of the conductive traces 313 on the primary side. As shown in FIG. 4, the wider traces 323 use as much of the available space on the substrate around the arc of the magnetic core as is permitted by the spacing of the outer and inner conductive vias 321 and 322. In other words, despite a reduced number of windings on the secondary side compared with the primary side, the conductive traces 323 are formed on the surface of the substrate with the minimum amount of surface space required for isolation, and the maximum amount of surface area covered by the trace. In FIG. 4, the minimum amount of surface space required for isolation between the traces 323 is illustrated by the arrow 325. As shown in the preferred embodiment of FIG. 4, this may result in secondary side conductive traces 323 that include an average width of around double the average width of the primary side conductive traces 313.

Referring again to FIG. 4, the upper and lower conductive traces 323 on the secondary side have a radial direction in which they extend from the outer conductive connectors 321 to the inner conductive connectors 322, and also have a width direction which extends perpendicularly to the radial direction. By making the conductive traces 323 on the secondary side wide (viewed in the width direction), the conductive traces extend to fill the space on the substrate between adjacent outer 321 and inner 322 conductive vias. The spacing 325 between adjacent conductive traces 323 is therefore significantly smaller than the spacing between the adjacent outer conductive connectors 321 for the winding (illustrated in FIG. 4 by arrow 326), and is also smaller than the maximum widths 327 of the traces 323.

This is not the case for the primary side winding for which the widths of the traces 313 are of a similar size and magnitude to the spacings between the outer conductive vias 311 and the spacings between adjacent traces (though these spacings are may also be narrower than the widths of the traces 313). The upper and lower conductive traces on the secondary side therefore include a relatively narrow spacing there between but are themselves relatively wide in the width direction.

In FIG. 4, the upper and lower conductive traces also include a tapering width, with a wide terminating section 327a where the traces meet the outer conductive connectors 321, and a narrower section where the traces meet the inner conductive connectors 322. The wide termination section 327a of the conductive traces 323 may follow tangentially the arc of outer periphery of the magnetic core. In FIG. 4, the outer conductive vias 321 are formed in two groups on either side of a central region in which no vias are provided. It is also possible to provide the vias on the secondary side located evenly around the periphery of the magnetic core.

Further, the conductive regions 324 provided at the input and output connections of the secondary side windings are designed to occupy more of at least one side of the surface of the substrate (in this case the upper side). The conductive regions are therefore made as large as possible, resulting in a generally triangular configuration located between a first edge 329a adjacent to the nearest conductive trace 323, a second edge 329b parallel or substantially parallel to a first edge of the insulating substrate 301, and a third edge 329c parallel or substantially parallel to a second edge of the insulating substrate 301. The second edge 329b and third edge 329c may subtend a right angle where they join one another, with the first edge 329a forming the hypotenuse of the triangle. It is not necessary that the triangle formed by the first, second, and third edges, be a right angled triangle.

The conductive regions 334 of the auxiliary winding, and the primary winding 314 that are closest to the secondary side windings, may also include a triangular or substantially triangular shape as described above for the secondary side windings. The edges of these conductive regions opposite the third edges 329c of the conductive regions 324 may be parallel with the third edges, the gap between these edges forming an isolation gap between the primary and secondary sides.

Although the wider traces are shown here on the secondary side, in alternate designs they may be provided on the primary side, or on both the primary and secondary sides.

The outer conductive vias 321 are provided at an outer periphery 323b of conductive traces 323. The outer periphery 323b may follow the curved arc of the magnetic core, either including a straight or substantially straight edge tangential to the arc of the magnetic core, or including a curved edge that follows the arc of the core.

For comparison between the primary side traces 313 and secondary side traces 323, it is meaningful to speak of the average width, rather than the width, as the traces may include a varying width along their length. For example, as shown in FIG. 4, the conductive traces on the secondary side may taper as the extend from the outer via holes 321 to the inner via holes 322, reflecting the fact the inner via holes are situated closer together. Also, where traces are provided with a main section and one or more angled or curved sections, the width at the transition between the main section and the angled or curved section may be reduced. In this sense, the average width may therefore be construed not only as a strict mathematical average but also as the width of a substantially uniform width along a section of the conductive trace defining a significant portion of the length of the conductive trace, such as the conductive trace section 323c, or such as a smaller section. Alternatively, it may be meaningful to speak of the maximum width of the primary and secondary side conductive traces. In comparison to the secondary side conductive traces, the conductive traces on the primary side are much narrower, and apart from occasional taperings or neck portions where the traces are required to be thinner so that they can pass through the first row of inner conductive vias 312a to a second row of inner conductive vias 312b, they are largely uniform in width.

The wider traces on the secondary side considerably reduce the resistance of the windings, while increasing the coupling. Specifically more area of the core is covered reducing the leakage inductance and increasing the coupling between the primary and the secondary. For the same separation distance (isolation level), the use of thinner traces results in weaker coupling between the two windings. For the same coupling, then thinner traces means that the distance between the primary and secondary side windings needs to be reduced giving a lower isolation level.

In alternative preferred embodiments of the present invention, the shape of the insulating substrate may vary. However, the shape of the insulating material does not significantly affect the performance of the transformer, which is determined by the position and number of conductive vias in each of the transformer windings.

In further preferred embodiments of the present invention, the auxiliary windings may be included within the output side windings rather than the input side windings as described above. The isolation and coupling requirements of the previous preferred embodiments may then apply between (i) the first winding, and (ii) the second and auxiliary windings.

The embedded magnetic component device described above with reference to FIGS. 2 to 4 has particular application to converters based on Royer circuit configurations (also known as self-oscillating push-pull circuits). Specifically, the embedded magnetic component device allows the Royer circuit to include a high level of electrical isolation together with good short circuit protection.

In Royer circuit design, the choice of turns ratio between the primary and the secondary side is determined based on voltage regulation requirements, switching frequency, thermal stability, and cost. As noted above, the transformer design illustrated in FIG. 4 includes 8 bifilar turns (16 turns in total) on the primary side, and 9 single filar turns on the secondary side. This allows for a Royer circuit to be used on the input side, and a synchronized rectifier to be used on the output side. This construction of transformer has been found to ensure good operation as a power supply while also being cost effective and permitting a smaller size for the finished package.

A converter using the embedded magnetic component transformer of FIG. 4 will now be described with reference to FIG. 5.

The input side Royer circuit 500 takes a DC input between input terminals +V (501) and GND (506), with the GND terminal being held a ground potential. A resistor R1 and capacitor C1 are connected in series across the input terminals, and a node 505 is located between them. The transformer TX1 is defined by an embedded transformer of the previously described preferred embodiments, and includes a first winding defined between nodes 510 and 514, a second winding defined between nodes 520 and 524, and an auxiliary winding defined between nodes 530 and 534.

Node 512 is connected partially along the first winding and node 532 is connected partially along the auxiliary winding. In one example, the nodes connected partially along the windings are connected to the midpoint of the respective windings. Thus, the first winding is divided into two windings 511 and 513 and the auxiliary winding is divided into two windings 531 and 533.

Two transistors TR1 and TR2 are provided to switch in and out an energizing voltage across the two portions of the first windings 513 and 511, respectively. The transistors shown are npn-type but other types are possible. High power switching transistors, for example, MOSFETs (metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors) are suitable.

The collector of transistor TR2 is connected to a first end of the first winding at node 510, and the collector of transistor TR1 is connected to a second end of the first winding at node 514. The emitter of transistor TR1 is connected to one terminal of inductor L2, and the other terminal of inductor L2 is connected to node 502. The emitter of transistor TR2 is connected to one terminal of inductor L1, and the other terminal of inductor L1 is connected to node 502.

Node 502 is in turn connected to node 503, which is held at ground potential. A first terminal of capacitor C2 is connected to node 503, and the other terminal is connected to node 504 which is connected directly to the high voltage input +V. Between node 504 and node 512, a resistor R3 is provided.

Each end of the auxiliary winding is connected to one of the bases of the transistors. Thus, node 530 is connected to the base of transistor TR1, and node 534 is connected to the base of transistor TR2. Intermediate node 532 is connected to the first terminal of resistor R2, the second terminal of resistor R2 being connected to node 505.

The input side circuit 500 oscillates between energizing the winding 511 and energizing the winding 513. When winding 513 is energized, the increasing magnetic flux passing through the core of transformer TX1 induces a voltage across the auxiliary windings 531 and 533. The induced voltage across auxiliary winding 531 is of the correct polarity to apply a voltage to the base terminal of transistor TR1 in order to keep transistor TR1 switched on. A positive feedback arrangement is thereby achieved, with TR1 being switched on and TR2 being switched off. Eventually the magnetic field within the core saturates and the rate of change of magnetic flux within it drops to zero. The voltage across the first winding 513, and therefore the current flowing through it, also drops to zero. The auxiliary windings 531 and 533 react to this change and an induced voltage, of reverse polarity, is set up across them. This has the effect of switching on transistor TR2 and switching off transistor TR1, thereby energizing the winding 511. Again, positive feedback is set up such that the voltage applied to the base of transistor TR2 by the auxiliary winding 533 maintains transistor TR2 in a switched on state, while keeping transistor TR1 in a switched off state. Following this, the magnetic field within the core saturates and the circuit returns to energizing the winding 513. This oscillatory behavior, alternating between energizing the first windings 511 and 513, continues indefinitely as long as input power is provided.

The output side of the transformer TX1 takes the form of a synchronized rectifier circuit 550, including first and second transistors Q1 and Q2, connected between first and second output terminals +Vout and 0V. In FIG. 5, although the two transistors illustrated are n-channel MOSFETs, any other suitable transistor technology may be used.

On the output side of the transformer TX1, node 520 connects to forward biased Zener diode D1, which is in turn connected to the first output terminal Vout. In this case, the first output terminal Vout is a positive output terminal. Further, node 524 connects to a second forward biased Zener diode D2,

Node 551, located in between node 520 and the input of the diode D1, connects node 520 to the gate terminal of transistor Q1. Node 552, located in between node 524 and diode D2, connects node 524 to the gate terminal of transistor Q2.

The drain terminal of transistor Q1 is connected to node 553 located in between the node 524 and the second Zener diode D2. The drain terminal of the second transistor is connected to node 554 located in between the node 520 and the Zener diode D1. The source terminals of transistors Q1 and Q2 are connected in turn to the second output terminal 0V.

Capacitor C5 is connected across the first and second output terminals. A first capacitor terminal is connected to node 555 connected between the output of Zener diode D1 and the first output terminal +Vout, while the other is connected to node 556 connected between the second output terminal 0V and the source terminals of transistors Q1 and Q2. An intermediate node 557 connected to the output of the second Zener diode D2 is connected to the first capacitor terminal, between the first capacitor terminal and the node 555. Reverse biased Zener diode D3 is also connected across the output terminals, including one terminal connected to node 558 coupled to the first output +Vout, and the other terminal connected to node 559 coupled to the second output terminal 559.

The second winding 521 has a voltage induced across it according to the rate of change of magnetic flux within the transformer core. Thus, an alternating current is set up.

In a first mode of operation, the alternating current circulates flows in a first direction, though Zener diode D1 which is forward biased, and via node 551 into the gate terminal of transistor Q1 turning it ON. When the transistor is ON current flows through the transistor Q1 from source to drain and current flows in the winding 521 from the second node 524 to the first node 520 and to the output terminal +Vout via Zener diode D1. A positive voltage is therefore established between output terminals +Vout and 0V. In this mode of operation, reverse biased Zener diode D2 prevents current flowing into the gate terminal of the second transistor Q2, which remains turned OFF.

In a second mode of operation, the alternating current flows in a second direction, though Zener diode D2, which is now forward biased, via node 552 into the gate terminal of transistor Q2, turning transistor Q2 ON. When the transistor Q2 is ON current flows through the transistor Q2 from source to drain, and current flows in the winding 521 from node 520 to node 524 and to the output terminal +Vout via Zener diode D2. A positive voltage is therefore also established between output terminals +Vout and 0V, as with the first mode of operation.

As the magnetic flux in the transformer changes, the magnitude and direction of the alternating current in the output circuit changes. The diodes D1 and D2 thereby rectify the alternating current, so that the output provided to the terminals is always in the form of a positive voltage signal. The capacitor C5 smooths the output voltage signal to provide an approximately constant direct current between the output terminals 540 and 542. Zener diode D3 may also be connected across the output terminals, in order to limit the gate voltage at the FETS Q1 and Q2 to a specific range dependent on the value of the diode. A resistance may be used in place of the Zener diode D3 as a dummy load. The circuit illustrated in FIG. 5 therefore defines an isolated DC to DC converter, taking a DC input across terminals +V and GND, and generating a DC output across terminals 540 and 542. The voltage of the DC output relative to that of the DC input can be adjusted by varying the number of turns on the first 511, 513 and second 521, 523 windings.

Although in the preferred embodiment of FIG. 5 the embedded transformer device is included in a Royer circuit, it should be noted that its advantages may be realized in any power converter circuit topology containing an embedded transformer.

Although reference is made to conductive vias throughout the present application, it should be noted that any conductive connector, for example, conductive pins, can equally well be used in place of any one or more of the conductive vias.

Further, although, in the examples above, the magnetic core 304 and cavity 302 are illustrated as being circular or substantially circular in shape, it may have a different shape in other preferred embodiments of the present invention. Non-limiting examples include, an oval or elongated toroidal shape, a toroidal shape having a gap, EE, EI, I, EFD, EP, UI and UR core shapes. The magnetic core 304 may be coated with an insulating material to reduce the possibility of breakdown occurring between the conductive magnetic core and the conductive vias or metallic traces. The magnetic core may also include chamfered edges providing a profile or cross section that is rounded.

Furthermore, the first and second windings can each either be primary transformer windings connected to the input power supply of the transformer, or secondary transformer windings connected to the output of the transformer. The embedded transformer device can be either a step-up or step-down transformer.

In the description above, a converter has been described with 16 turns on the primary side windings, and nine turns on the secondary side as a non-limiting example. In other preferred embodiments of the present invention, different numbers of turns on the primary and secondary side may be used. Known Royer circuits, for example, may include 16 turns for the primary side and 18 turns for the secondary side. The transformer illustrated in FIG. 4 therefore reduces the number of turns required for the secondary side by substituting the known Royer circuit output for a synchronized rectifier circuit. In alternative preferred embodiments, the transformer in FIG. 4 may be adapted so that the primary side turns are reduced, using a half bridge circuit on the input side and a normal Royer output on the secondary side. This would reduce the number of turns needed for the transformer by 6 on the primary side compared with the known Royer circuit device. Alternatively, both of the primary and secondary windings could have reduced turns, by using a half bridge circuit on the primary side, and a synchronized rectifier circuit on the output. This would reduce the number of turns required from the known Royer circuit configuration by 13. In all cases, reducing the number of turns means more flexibility in the design layout and higher potential isolation between the components. However, reducing secondary turns requires only one additional transistor (e.g. in a FET dual package) to be added to the circuit. Reducing the primary side windings requires a half bridge circuit to be provided meaning more components on the input side compared with the known Royer design.

Various modifications to the preferred embodiments described above are possible and will occur to those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the invention which is defined by the following claims.

It should be understood that the foregoing description is only illustrative of the present invention. Various alternatives and modifications can be devised by those skilled in the art without departing from the present invention. Accordingly, the present invention is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications, and variances that fall within the scope of the appended claims.

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28.0/100 Score

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73.04/100 Score

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It shows the degree of innovation that can be derived from a company’s IP. Here we look into ease of detection, ability to design around and significance of the patented feature to the product/service.

79.0/100 Score

Assignee Score

It takes the R&D behavior of the company itself into account that results in IP. During the invention phase, larger companies are considered to assign a higher R&D budget on a certain technology field, these companies have a better influence on their market, on what is marketable and what might lead to a standard.

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Citation

Patents Cited in This Cited by
Title Current Assignee Application Date Publication Date
Flat-type inductive component VACUUMSCHMELZE GMBH 04 April 1997 26 November 1997
Planar electronic device TE CONNECTIVITY CORPORATION 10 August 2012 13 February 2014
Self-excited push-pull converter MORNSUN GUANGZHOU SCIENCE&TECHNOLOGY LTD. 11 January 2012 26 June 2014
Miniature circuitry and inductive components and methods for manufacturing same MULTI-FINELINE ELECTRONIX, INC. 18 September 2008 15 January 2009
High frequency inverter transformer for power supplies SPERRY CORPORATION 30 September 1982 20 August 1985
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US10002703 Embedded magnetic component transformer 1 US10002703 Embedded magnetic component transformer 2 US10002703 Embedded magnetic component transformer 3