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Asahi Kasei Microdevices launches new DC-DC step-up converter for efficient energy harvesting applications

February 28, 2023
Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corp.

Asahi Kasei Microdevices (AKM) has launched a new DC-DC step-up converter with ultra-low power consumption that is able to boost low voltages, offering solutions for remote and battery-free operation as well as low-maintenance applications in the fields of asset monitoring and IoT.

The use of smart watches, health and fitness trackers, body sensors, other small electronic wearables and implants, as well as wireless monitoring devices is increasing. However, the need for batteries and external energy sources to power these devices is a severe constraint for overall product design, practical usage, and maintenance – especially in remote areas. Utilizing actively available thermal energy can open up new application fields and design options. However, a DC-DC converter is required to boost the harvested voltage and effectively use the resulting output to power small electronic devices, omitting the need for primary batteries.

  • DC-DC step-up converter AP4473
    DC-DC step-up converter AP4473

Single-chip solution for efficient energy harvesting

Asahi Kasei Microdevices has launched the AP4473, a DC-DC step-up converter featuring the capability of boosting an input voltage of as low as 15 millivolts (mV) while maintaining an ultra-low power consumption of only 26 nanoamperes (nA). This single-chip solution allows electricity generation from a minimal thermal energy source, such as body heat, while enabling overcharge prevention and power supply control with minimal energy consumption.

In addition to the boost circuit, the device incorporates a PMOS switch and two hysteresis comparators. The switch disconnects the energy storage devices, such as capacitors, from the system, while its comparators automatically start and stop supplying power to the system. This makes it possible to configure a power supply unit in an energy harvesting system with a minimal number of passive elements, contributing to size and cost reductions for the overall system.

The AP4473 is suitable for applications in beacons for asset tracking and asset monitoring, environmental monitoring and IoT sensor nodes, as well as smartcards or IoT devices.