Over the years, magnetic components have evolved to meet power supply designers' goal of density, size, weight, efficiency, and cost. Today, that challenge is getting far more stringent as power supplies are being crammed into tighter spaces — especially in handheld consumer products. Miniature surface mount inductors and transformers used in such applications must shrink accordingly. Concurrently, compact magnetic components with ultra-low profile must offer high performance at wider temperature ranges while performing even better at higher frequencies. In the cover story of this special report (pages 16-24), Lee H. Goldberg, freelance writer, unfolds improvements in materials, design, and manufacturing practices of surface mount inductors and transformers that enable power supply designers to keep pace with the demands of future electronics products.
Designers know that for any switching power supply design, the inductor is a critical component — and its value must be absolutely correct, or the design won't meet the goals. The article in this special magnetics section by Chris Likely of Cooper Electronic Technologies (pages 26-31) will guide you through the process of selecting the right off-the-shelf inductor for switching regulators. In addition, spotlight on magnetic components unwraps the latest product announcements in that sector.