Panthronics AG, a fabless semiconductor company specialising in high performance wireless technology, today announces that it is disrupting the market for NFC charging by introducing a new charger IC which substantially increases power output and significantly reduces wireless charging time for earbuds, lifestyle-tracker wristbands and other small devices.
The new, efficient, PTX100W NFC charger IC provides an output power at the charging device’s antenna of >2.5W, more than twice as high as that produced by the next best NFC controller on the market today. The high output power enables much faster charging, making it viable for manufacturers of consumer devices that only have space for a small antenna to eliminate the wired charging circuit from next-generation product designs.
Demand for wireless charging in wearables
Manufacturers of the latest mobile and wearable devices are keen to replace wired charger connections with wireless charging, because of its convenience, design flexibility and reliability benefits. Qi wireless charging, popular in smartphones, is unsuitable for smaller devices because it requires a large antenna and costly circuitry. Qi antennas also lose charging efficiency unless precisely aligned.
NFC wireless charging has much greater appeal because of the small antenna size with high tolerance of antenna misalignment, and because of the NFC protocol’s support for data communication with a host such as a smartphone. But adoption of NFC for wireless charging has been held back by the low output power provided by the conventional NFC controller ICs on the market today.
Now the introduction of the PTX100W makes wireless charging via an NFC interface suitable for any device with a battery smaller than 500mAh.
The PTX100W is able to achieve its class-leading output power thanks to its patented sine wave architecture developed by Panthronics. This architecture disposes of the lossy EMC filter circuitry required in conventional NFC controllers, which have a square-wave output signal. With the elimination of the EMC filter, OEMs can achieve an antenna matching impedance some two times lower than that of a conventional solution which has an EMC filter. These two features enable the PTX100W NFC charger to drive much higher power through an NFC antenna than existing NFC ICs can do, while minimizing the power losses introduced by external components.
The PTX100W also supports NFC data communication while charging – data exchange operations are fully compliant with NFC Forum specifications. Panthronics’ unique DiRAC (Direct-to-Antenna Connection) technology not only eliminates the EMC filter, but also allows the receiver to directly sense antenna signals with high dynamic range via its patented receiver input stage.
Panthronics and Renesas have developed a demonstration design of a wireless charging system for a wearable device, based on the PTX100W and a Renesas Synergy™ S128 MCU. The PTX100W NFC charger, which has a standard serial peripheral interface for communication, is compatible with any standard low-power MCU device.
Roger Wendelken, Senior Vice President, MCU Business, IoT and Infrastructure Business Unit at Renesas, said: ‘The PTX100W from Panthronics marks the breakthrough in wireless charging that Renesas has been waiting for. At >2.5W, the output power is finally high enough for NFC charging to become compatible with the fast-paced lifestyle of today’s consumers. By working together on the demonstration design, Renesas and Panthronics have been able to show our customers that high-speed NFC charging is a realistic and practical option now for new products.’
Mark Dickson, Chief Marketing Officer of Panthronics, said: ‘Panthronics’ innovations in NFC technology have already disrupted the market for NFC readers in point-of-sale applications, with the launch in 2019 of the PTX100R. Now it is set to do the same for the NFC charging market with the PTX100W, making NFC the standard for wireless charging in devices which cannot accommodate the large antenna required by Qi charging systems.’