Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical, Computer & Energy Engineering

First Advisor

Zoya Popovic

Second Advisor

Dragan Maksimovic

Third Advisor

Dejan Filipovic

Fourth Advisor

Tibault Reveyrand

Fifth Advisor

Edward Kuester


Increasing the operating frequency of switching converters can have a direct impact in the miniaturization and integration of power converters. The size of energy-storage passive components and the difficulty to integrate them with the rest of the circuitry is a major challenge in the development of a fully integrated power supply on a chip. The work presented in this thesis attempts to address some of the difficulties encountered in the design of high-frequency converters by applying concepts and techniques usually used in the design of high-efficiency power amplifiers and high-efficiency rectifiers at microwave frequencies. The main focus is in the analysis, design, and characterization of dc-dc converters operating at microwave frequencies in the low gigahertz range.

The concept of PA-rectifier duality, where a high-efficiency power amplifier operates as a high-efficiency rectifier is investigated through non-linear simulations and experimentally validated. Additionally, the concept of a self-synchronous rectifier, where a transistor rectifier operates synchronously without the need of a RF source or driver is demonstrated. A theoretical analysis of a class-E self-synchronous rectifier is presented and validated through non-linear simulations and experiments.

Two GaN class-E2 dc-dc converters operating at a switching frequency of 1 and 1.2 GHz are demonstrated. The converters achieve 80 % and 75 % dc-dc efficiency respectively and are among the highest-frequency and highest-efficiency reported in the literature. The application of the concepts established in the analysis of a self-synchronous rectifier to a power amplifier culminated in the development of an oscillating, self-synchronous class-E2 dc-dc converter.

Finally, a proof-of-concept fully integrated GaN MMIC class-E2 dc-dc converter switching at 4.6 GHz is demonstrated for the first time to the best of our knowledge. The 3.8 mm x 2.6 mm chip contains distributed inductors and does not require any external components. The maximum measured dc-dc efficiency is approximately 45%.