Capacitive Power Transfer


The simplicity and low cost of capacitive interfaces makes them very attractivefor wireless charging stations and galvanically isolated power supplies. Major benefits include low electromagnetic radiation and the amenability of combined power and data transfer over the same interface.

We present a capacitive power transfer circuit using series resonance that enables efficient high frequency, moderate voltage operation through soft-switching. An included analysis predicts fundamental limitations on the maximum achievable efficiency for a given amount of coupling capacitance and is used to find the optimum circuit component values and operating point.

A prototype capacitive charger achieves near 80% efficiency at 3.7 W with only 63 pF of coupling capacitance. An automatic tuning loop adjusts the frequency from 4.2 MHz down to 4 MHz to allow for 25% variation in the nominal coupling capacitance.The duty cycle is also automatically adjusted to maintain over 70% efficiency for light loads down to 0.3 W.

Simulation results from a galvanically isolated LED driver (work in progress) indicate that efficiencies over 90% at 12.6 W output power are possible using only 500 pF of capacitance. Regulation of LED current is accomplished by tuning the frequency ofthe series resonant circuit, eliminating the need for secondary-side current sense andregulation electronics.

Mitchell Kline
Seth R. Sanders
Publication date: 
March 30, 2011
Publication type: 
Master's Thesis
Kline, M. H. (2010). Capacitive Power Transfer. United States: University of California, Berkeley.

*Only registered BSAC Industrial Members may view project materials & publications. Click here to request member-only access.