Technical Article

Conducted EMI Reduction Techniques for Wireless Power Systems

December 14, 2023 by Milind Dighrasker

The article discusses wireless power transfer system operation and challenges in meeting EMI, especially conducted emission requirements. A solution and its operation are described using a system model, considering key parasitic elements of the system.

This article is published by EE Power as part of an exclusive digital content partnership with Bodo’s Power Systems.

Over the past decade, inductive wireless power transfer (WPT) has seen widespread adoption across various industries. Major industry standards such as Qi, managed by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), are advancing newer standards such as Magnetic Power Profile (MPP) with Qi2 for better user experience and efficiency.


Image used courtesy of Adobe Stock


The convenient and fast charging experience makes inductive WPT an ideal solution for automotive, industrial, and smartphone charging applications. Moreover, market trends are now shifting towards battery-powered products that require even higher power charging capabilities, such as home robots, light electric vehicles (e-bikes), portable speakers, and consumer healthcare devices. However, with greater power comes the system challenges of electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), safety, and efficiency over and above standardization.


Figure 1. Typical wireless charging system. Image used courtesy of Bodo’s Power Systems [PDF]


This article describes key design aspects of WPT systems with a special focus on conducted electromagnetic interference (EMI). Throughout this article, the block system diagram in Figure 1 is considered to describe the functional blocks of the system and their impacts on EMI.


WPT System Overview

The WPT system consists of a power transmitter (PTx) and a power receiver (PRx). Power flow is from the PTx (source) to PRx (load). The transmitter coil inductively couples to a receiver coil to transmit power to PRx, which is regulated using an in-band feedback loop. The typical WPT system comprises multiple power conversion switching stages starting from VIN: pre-regulator (DC-DC), fullbridge inverter (DC-AC), and rectifier (AC-DC). All these switching stages are potential sources that generate EMI.

To effortlessly manage all the stages, Infineon offers a wide range of highly integrated wireless charging controllers and power MOSFETs for automotive and consumer applications and provides reference solutions with configuration options that help meet stringent regulatory and compliance requirements. Visit our dedicated Wireless Charging website to find more information on WLC1x controllers and OptiMOS FETs.


EMI in WPT Systems

EMI management is a crucial aspect of WPT design due to the presence of electromagnetic fields in the large air gap between the PTx and PRx coils. Thus, it is imperative to understand all potential sources of EMI for mitigation during design.

EMI is typically in two categories: conducted emissions (CE) and radiated emissions (RE). Both can interfere with electronics; therefore, regulations limit allowable emissions so that all devices can operate normally and simultaneously. This article describes possible sources of CE EMI and presents some mitigation techniques.


Common-Mode Current and its Impact on Conducted Emissions

Common-mode (CM) currents are one of the main sources of conducted emission (CE) EMI. The CM current is the difference between the positive and negative rail currents; it is created by pulsing nonsymmetric nodes (such as SW1 and SW2) and parasitic capacitances.

To explain the potential CM current paths, a circuit of a WPT system along with a line impedance stabilization network (LISN) is shown in Figure 2a. The LISN and Earth GND are parts of the standard CE EMI measurement test setup. Figure 2a represents potential parasitic capacitances of the system including those from switching nodes of the inverter (Cgs) and PCB GND to the reference plane/Earth (Cgg). The CM current contributes to a significant amount of energy in CE.


CM Current Sources and Paths

In Figure 2a, the switching nodes of the inverters SW1 and SW2 (Q2 and Q4 drains) are sources of CM voltages because ensuring symmetric switching is difficult owing to cost and production variations caused by imperfect drivers, clocks, and parasitic MOSFET capacitances. Subtle asymmetries between SW1 and SW2 result in CM voltage differences, which induce a CM voltage (see Vcm1 and Vcm2).

In a typical power converter, Vcm1 and Vcm2 result in a CM current through parasitic capacitances Cgs and Cgg. In the case of WPT, two additional parasitic capacitances from the coils to the reference GND plane are also present (Cgc). Cgc is formed by the transmitter coil as it is a fairly large piece of copper, which appears as one plate of a capacitor when the previously introduced CM voltages (Vcm1 and Vcm2) exist across its windings caused by SW1 and SW2. These voltages result in the CM current via Cgc that conducts back to the LISN through the Earth GND. These CM currents contribute to CE when they return to the main power line through the LISN and Earth GND connection instead of the PCB GND connection.


Figure 2. Circuit diagrams showing test equipment and inverter (2a), and the modified equivalent circuit with parasitic capacitances (2b). Image used courtesy of Bodo’s Power Systems [PDF]


A further simplified equivalent circuit is shown in Figure 2b. For understanding the CM current paths through Cgc, a linear variation of the electric field and capacitance is assumed across the coil; thus, the total lumped capacitances are shown as two equal capacitances from each end of the transmitter coil (Cgs+Cgc/2).

Considering the CE test frequency (150 kHz–30 MHz) as the frequency of interest, CIN and Ctx can be considered as shorted, which results in the modified equivalent circuit shown in Figure 3a, which also shows the CM current paths. It is clear that in addition to Cgg and Cgs, additional parasitic capacitances (Cgc) also result in CM currents. This additional CM current due to the Cgc capacitance deteriorates the CE performance.


Proposed Solution for CM Current Mitigation

To overcome the impact of the CM current due to Cgc, a PCB shielding filter is proposed. The PCB shield is connected to the PCB GND; it reduces or eliminates the effect of the Cgc capacitance by introducing a new capacitance, Cshield (Figure 3b), which becomes the dominant capacitance.

Cshield redirects the current that was flowing through the Earth GND to PCB GND, equalizing the absolute value of the current in the positive and negative power supply conductors powering the device. This reduces the CM current flowing to the Earth GND and via the LISN. The effect of the shield PCB is shown in the equivalent circuit (Figure 3b). The shield PCB design should ensure a capacitance (Cshield) of a much higher value than Cgc. This dominant capacitance can be created without impacting the magnetic field by creating traces and a GND connection with a single PCB. Note that the traces must be equally spaced across the PCB and each trace width and air gap must be thin (~5 mil).


Figure 3. Modified equivalent circuit with CM currents, (3a) equivalent circuit, and CM currents with shield PCB (3b). Image used courtesy of Bodo’s Power Systems [PDF]


A similar analysis holds good for PRx: a shield PCB improves the CE performance for PRx. The parasitic capacitance between the PTx and PRx coils when they are mated comes into play for the PRx CM current.


Figure 4. PCB shield for CE. Image used courtesy of Bodo’s Power Systems [PDF]


Other Design Considerations for Optimum CE Performance

Note that CM currents result from CM voltages that are directly related to the speed of the switching node (slew rate). Therefore, increasing the drain-to-source capacitance of the inverter FETs (Q2 and Q4) or the external capacitance on these nodes also helps minimize the negative impact of the CM current on CE.

The external capacitance on the switching node also affects the zero voltage switching (ZVS) performance. A higher switching node capacitance improves the CE performance; however, it might overdamp the switching node response and negatively impact the efficiency. Thus, it is important to tune the switching node capacitances for ZVS and optimum CE performance. 


Experimental Results for CE

The following test results represent a common CE test result per CISPR 32 from a WPT system. It is common for the fundamental inverter frequency to appear in the EMI spectrum during testing if proper tuning and shielding are not in place. Figure 5 shows the difference in the EMI performance before and after the implementation of the proposed solution. After applying shielding and tuning the inverter ZVS, the previous EMI result is improved.


Figure 5. CE results with proper tuning and good layout practices. Image used courtesy of Bodo’s Power Systems [PDF]


Takeaways of Conducted EMI in Wireless Power Systems

The article explained the WPT ecosystem and mode of operation in brief and presented a basic overview of EMI types and potential sources. Using the circuit model of a WPT system, the related parasitic capacitances were presented and explained. A shield PCB approach is presented and its positive impact on CE performance is analyzed with the help of an equivalent circuit and experimental results. Other design aspects of WPT systems that would affect CE performance are also detailed.


This article originally appeared in Bodo’s Power Systems [PDF] magazine and is co-authored by Milind Dighrasker and Nicholaus Smith of Infineon.