Analog Devicesspace

Analog Devices' Digital Isolation Update
iCoupler® News

Welcome to another edition of the Analog Devices' Digital Isolation Update. Whether you are already using iCoupler technology or still designing with optocouplers, this Digital Isolation Update will keep you posted as we continue to introduce a wide array of new isolation products including gate drivers, transceivers, and multi-channel digital isolators with isoPower™ isolated, integrated DC/DC converters.

Each Digital Isolation Update includes a look at New Products, a special application note we call "NAppkin Notes," and a feature filled with insights and interesting facts that we call Inside iCoupler Technology.

We are always looking for feedback, so please feel free to e-mail us at:

New iCoupler Products

The First 5-Channel Isolator with Independent Unidirectional Isolation Channels
The ADuM1510 isolator supports data rates up to 10 Mbps and operates with the supply voltage of either side ranging from 4.5 V to 5.5 V. It has a patented refresh feature that ensures DC correctness in the absence of input logic transitions and during power-up/power-down conditions. For more information on the ADuM1510, please visit

The World's Smallest DC/DC Converter
The ADuM5000 is available in a 10 x 10 mm 16-lead wide SOIC package, and is a full 40% smallest modular DC/DC converter solutions. Please visit for more information.

Dual-channel digital isolators with isoPower
The ADuM520x family are dual-channel digital isolators with isoPower – an integrated, isolated DC/DC converter that provides up to 500 mW of regulated, isolated power at either 5.0V from a 5.0V input supply or 3.3V from a 3.3V or 5.0V supply. For more information on the ADuM520x family, please visit

Isolated Half-Bridge Driver with Integrated Isolated High-Side Supply
The ADuM6132 is an isolated half-bridge gate driver that provides an isolated high-side driver with an integrated 275 mW high-side supply. Learn more about the part at

back to top

NAppkin Notes – written expressly for the Digital Isolation Update – are ideas, hints, and tips for
building with iCoupler technology.

NAppkin Note: Increasing and Decreasing Power with isoPower Devices
By: Mark Cantrell, Applications Engineer

The second generation of isoPower devices, starting with the ADuM540x quad channel as well as upcoming ADuM520x dual channel and ADuM5000 stand alone devices offer significant improvements in power efficiency and total available power. However, just adding a relatively efficient power supply to an iCoupler does not provide all users the flexibility to implement real world solutions. Customers routinely require either more power than an isoPower device can produce or the ability to shut down the power supply when not in use. ADI has built in the ability to accomplish both of these requirements within this product family.

The isoPower architecture simplifies both combining power modules to increase power as well as the ability to shut down the supply. Power is transferred from primary to secondary by running a high frequency tank circuit into the transformer and rectifying it on the secondary. It is similar to a typical linear power supply but at much higher frequency. Output regulation is achieved by a PWM control signal that switches the tank circuit on and off proportionately to the power required to maintain the output voltage. The Regulation Control (RC) signal is generated on the secondary side and passed to the primary through a standard iCoupler data channel. Access to this digital RC signal provides great flexibility. It can be used to regulate a separate isoPower device, or it can be controlled by a separate isoPower device. It can also be used to shut off the power supply. Second generation isoPower ADuM5xxx series products include RCIN, RCOUT, and RCSEL pins to achieve this flexibility.

To increase power an isoPower device is chosen to be the master to provide an RC signal to regulate itself as well as other modules via their RCIN pins. Since there is only one part trying to control regulation, the secondary power outputs can safely be connected together to combine their power. An example of using an ADuM540x and an ADuM5000 to generate 1W of power and 4 channels of data isolation is shown in Figure 1. All combinations of master and slave are not possible due to constraints on the availability of pins for the control functions; please refer to the data sheets for more details.

Figure 1
Figure 1 - 1W power configuration

The RCIN pins can also be used to place the part in low current power down state. The RCSEL pin chooses whether the RC signal is coming from the devices secondary side regulator, or an external source. If the RCIN signal is tied to ground, then switching RCSEL will change the source of regulation between the secondary side controller and a logic zero forcing the tank circuit off. This turns the DC/DC converter from full regulation to a low power state. An example using the ADuM520x is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2
Figure 2 - Power Shut Down

These power control techniques improve the flexibility of the isoPower system allowing higher power as well as very low power, widening the range of potential applications significantly. High power sensors, and controls as well as battery power applications are within reach of this innovative technology.

back to top

Inside iCoupler Technology

By Eric Gaalaas, Design Engineer

Analog Devices' isolated gate-drive products with integrated high-side supply provide two 15 V outputs with hundreds of volts of isolation between the high-side and low-side channels. This is accomplished by integrating an isolated DC/DC converter with iCoupler technology. The recently released ADuM6132, for example, provides an isolated supply for the high-side gate-drive channel, VISO, that supplies up to 20 mA to external high-side circuitry. The gate drive capability, at 15V, is several hundred mA. This article summarizes how these gate drivers transfer isolated power and data.

The DC/DC converter works as shown in the figure, by inverting the 5 V DC input VDD voltage into high-frequency AC, driving the AC through a power transformer to achieve DC isolation between the primary and secondary windings, and then rectifying the secondary-side AC waveform to create the desired VISO DC output. A transformer-coupled resonator combines the inverting and transformer functions into a single circuit. On the primary side of the resonator, the cross-coupled transistor connection establishes positive feedback which amplifies disturbances. The LC tank formed by the inductance looking into the transformer primary and the tank transistor drain capacitance sustains oscillations at approximately 140 MHz.

Energy is supplied to the converter via the center-tap in the primary winding, which is connected to the VDD input power supply. At resonance, the Q of the LC tank is sufficiently high to provide voltage gain, so that 5 V DC input is converted into 18 V AC at the tank output. Fast Schottky diodes in the full-bridge rectifier convert the AC at the transformer secondary into the VISO DC output, in a manner that minimizes diode losses.

To maintain an equilibrium value for VISO, the average power provided by the converter must equal the average power consumed by the off-chip load plus on-chip secondary-side circuits. In the converter, the VDD voltage and load characteristics determine the amount of energy provided to the transformer primary per AC oscillation cycle. Average power transfer from VDD to VISO is therefore regulated by controlling the average number of AC oscillation cycles per unit time. A PWM circuit does this, by turning the resonator on and off through the bottom-most of the 3 primary-side transistors shown in the figure. In some isoPower products, such as the ADuM6132 shown in the figure, the PWM duty cycle is controlled 'open-loop' by the VDD voltage, which weakens the dependence of VISO on VDD, but not the load dependence. In other isoPower products, the PWM duty cycle is set by voltage feedback from the secondary side of the converter, enabling fully regulated VISO. A voltage clamp at the rectifier output shunts energy between VISO and GNDISO to prevent overvoltage at VISO during light load conditions.

The ADuM6132 accepts non-isolated 5 V control inputs for both gate-drive channels. iCoupler transformer-coupled level-shifting circuits translate the control inputs between voltage domains as needed. In all gate driver products, an iCoupler translates the high-side control input to the VISO high-side voltage domain. In some products, such as the ADuM5230, the low-side output is isolated from both the high-side output and control inputs, requiring an additional iCoupler isolated channel. In other products, such as the ADuM6132 shown here, the low-side output and control inputs share a common ground reference, so that no low-side iCoupler is needed. In this case, where the high-side channel includes iCoupler isolation and the low-side channel does not, delay-matching circuitry is used in the low-side channel to get best possible matching of propagation delays between channels. Overall propagation delay from control input to gate drive output is typically 50 ns, and delay mismatch between channels is 10 ns or less.


Controlling Radiated Emissions with isoPower Devices
Abstract: isoPower devices use high frequency switching elements to transfer power through its transformer. Special care must be taken during printed circuitry board (PCB) layout to meet emissions standards. This special application note identifies the radiated mechanisms and offers specific guidance on addressing them. This application note is extremely useful when designing in members of the ADuM5xxx and/or ADuM6xxx families. The app note is available here:

Analog is Everywhere
back to top