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Systems & Control Letters 45 (2002) 113119

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Stability of current-mode control for DCDC
power converters
Jose Alvarez-Ramirez
a
, Gerardo Espinosa-P erez
b,
a
Division de Ciencias Basicas e Ingenieria, Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa, Apartado Postal 55-534,
Mexico D.F. 09340, Mexico
b
Divisi on de Estudios de Posgrado, Facultad de Ingeniera, Universidad Nacional Aut onoma de M exico, Apartado Postal 70-256,
M exico D.F. 04510, Mexico
Received 9 October 2000; received in revised form 20 August 2001; accepted 24 August 2001
Abstract
DCDC power converters are switched devices whose averaged dynamics are described by a bilinear second-order
system with saturated input. In some cases (e.g., boost and buckboost converters), the input output dynamics can be of
nonminimum-phase nature. Current-mode control is the standard strategy for output voltage regulation in high dynamic
performance industrial DCDC power converters. It is basically composed by a saturated linear state feedback (inductor
current and output voltage) plus an output voltage integral feedback to remove steady-state oset. Despite its widespread
usage, there is a lack of rigorous results to back up its stabilization capability and to systematize its design. In this paper,
we prove that current-mode control yields semiglobal stability with asymptotic regulation of the output voltage. c 2002
Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Nonlinear systems; DCDC power converters; Current-mode control; Semiglobal stability
1. Introduction
The ever increasing demand for smaller size,
portable, and lighter weight high performance DC
DC PWM power converters for industrial, com-
munications (i.e., portable telephones), residential,
and aerospace applications, is currently a topic of

Corresponding author. Fax: +52-5-6161073.


E-mail address: gerardoe@servidor.unam.mx
(G. Espinosa-P erez).
widespread interest. The three basic congurations for
this kind of power converters are the buck, boost and
buckboost circuits, which provide low voltage and
current ratings for loads at constant switching fre-
quency [5].
Various attempts have been made to formulate the
control strategies for these switching regulators, be-
cause their overall dynamic performance is largely
determined by the controller. They range from lin-
ear designs (see for instance [3]), to complicated
nonlinear dynamic state feedbacks using lineariza-
tion [7], passivation [8] and nonlinear modulation [6]
0167-6911/02/$ - see front matter c 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
PII: S0167- 6911( 01) 00169- 4
114 J. Alvarez-Ramirez, G. Espinosa-P erez / Systems & Control Letters 45 (2002) 113119
approaches. Unfortunately, nonlinear controllers suf-
fer from the drawback of computational complex-
ity, which makes prohibitive their implementation
on actual analog devices. Moreover, due to the
nonminimum-phase nature of the boost and buck
boost converters [8], such nonlinear controllers rely
on indirect regulation of output voltage. It is however
clear that indirect regulation is extremely sensitive to
unavoidable practical variations on circuit parameters
and line voltage.
Since its inception in 1967, current-mode control
(CMC) is becoming widely used in the power sup-
ply industry as the standard control conguration [1].
There are many reasons for this, including its long his-
tory of proven operation and robustness, and the fact
this control strategy is well understood by many in-
dustrial operational, technical, and maintenance prac-
titioners. Basically, CMC is a linear state feedback
plus an integral feedback that employs both an exter-
nal voltage loop and an inner current loop, the lat-
ter sensing either the switch or the inductor current
for feedback purposes. Commonly, a lead-lag lter is
added to enhance the bandwidth of the control loop.
The end results are: (1) a faster transient response in-
duced by the current loop; (2) an easier-to-design con-
trol loop; and (3) faster overload protection. Despite
the successful industrial functioning of the CMC, so
far, there is a lack of rigorous results to back up its sta-
bilization capability and to systematize its design. It
is the authors belief that studies in this subject should
lead to improved control designs and consequently, in
this paper a stability analysis of this controller is car-
ried out.
DCDC power converters are switched devices
whose averaged dynamics are described by a bilinear
second-order system with saturated input. In this way,
the resulting closed-loop dynamics are nonlinear.
In this paper, we exploit the inherent structural and
dynamics properties of DCDC converters to prove
that CMC yields semiglobal stability with asymptotic
regulation of the output voltage. To the best of our
knowledge, this is the rst proof of the stabiliza-
tion capability of CMC within a nonlinear systems
framework.
Notation. |x| denotes the Euclidean norm of a vec-
tor x. For q: R
m
R
n
, Dq(x
0
) denotes the Frechet
derivative of q evaluated at x
0
.
2. System dynamics and control considerations
The three basic converters are the buck, boost and
buckboost congurations. Since the boost and buck
boost converters are of nonminimum-phase nature, be-
sides its practical relevance, their control is an interest-
ing theoretical case study. In the sequel, we will focus
mainly on the boost converter. At the end of the pa-
per, the case of the (nonminimum-phase) buckboost
converter is remarked.
The averaged model of the DCDC boost converter
is given by [3]
x
1
= L
1
[ (1 u)x
2
+ E],
x
2
= C
1
[(1 u)x
1
R
1
x
2
],
, = x
2
(1)
with initial condition
x(0) = (x
1
(0), x
2
(0))
T
R
2
0
(2)
and operational constraint
u (u
min
, u
max
), 0 u
min
u
max
1, (3)
where , is the controlled output, x
1
and x
2
rep-
resent, respectively, the inductor current and the
output voltage variables, u is the continuous
control signal (duty cycle), which represents
the slew rate of a PWM circuit controlling the
switch position in the converter, and R
2
0
de-
notes the open rst quadrant. The positive con-
stants C, L, R and E are the capacitance, induc-
tance, load resistance, and voltage source, respec-
tively. As we will see in following section, u
max
is less than one to avoid operation in short-circuit
mode [5].
In CMC, both the inductor current x
1
and the output
voltage x
2
are sensed [1,3], so that for control design
purposes it can be assumed that the state x R
2
0
is
available for measurement. Let S : R [u
min
, u
max
]
be a C
1
monotonous increasing saturation function
with u
c
being the computed control input. The system
(1)(3) can be rewritten as
x
1
= L
1
[ (1 S(u
c
))x
2
+ E],
x
2
= C
1
[(1 S(u
c
))x
1
R
1
x
2
],
, = x
2
(4)
J. Alvarez-Ramirez, G. Espinosa-P erez / Systems & Control Letters 45 (2002) 113119 115
with initial condition given by Eq. (2). In this way,
given a possibly unbounded control law u
c
= F(x),
constraint (3) is satised by virtue of the satu-
ration function S. In the remainder, we will use
the following notation: [(x, u
c
) : R
2
0
R R,
where
[
1
(x, u
c
) = L
1
[ (1 S(u
c
))x
2
+ E],
[
2
(x, u
c
) = C
1
[(1 S(u
c
))x
1
R
1
x
2
].
Proposition 1. Nonlinear system (4) satises the
following smoothness, stability, and steady-state
properties:
P.1: [(x, u
c
) : R
2
0
RR is a C
1
function.
P.2: There exists a C
1
function q : R R
2
0
such
that, for all constant input u
c
R,
[( x, u
c
) = 0 i q(u
c
)
def
= (q
1
(u
c
), q
2
(u
c
))
T
= x.
(5)
P.3: The map q
2
( u
c
) : R R
0
is globally Lipchitz
and strictly increasing, i.e., Dq
2
( u
c
) 0 for all
u
c
R.
P.4: There exist two positive constants c
0
and :
0
such
that for all u
c
R, x(0) R
2
0
, and all t 0,
|x(t, x(0))q(u
c
)|6c
0
|x(0)q(u
c
)| exp(:
0
t). (6)
Proof. (P.1) It is straightforward. (P.2) From (1), it
is easy to see that [( x, u
c
) = 0 i
q
1
(u
c
) = R
1
(1 S(u
c
))
2
E,
q
2
(u
c
) = (1 S(u
c
))
1
E. (7)
(P.3) From (7), we have that Dq
2
( u
c
) =DS( u
c
) (1
S( u
c
))
2
E 0 by virtue of the fact that DS(u
c
) 0.
Moreover, since |DS( u
c
)| is bounded and 1 S( u
c
)
is bounded away from zero, Dq
2
( u
c
) is also glob-
ally uniformly bounded. (P.4) For each constant
input u
c
R, u
def
= S( u
c
) [u
min
, u
max
] is also a
constant, so that dynamical system (4) can be
written as
x = A(u)x + B(E) (8)
with
A(u) =

0 L
1
(1 u)
C
1
(1 u) (CR)
1

.
and
B(E) =

L
1
E
0

. (9)
System(8) is linear and has a unique equilibriumpoint
given by Eq. (7). Since trace(A( u)) =(CR)
1
0
and det(A( u)) = (CL)
1
(1 u)
2
0, the equilib-
rium point x = q( u
c
) is exponentially asymptotically
stable. Finally, notice that J
1
(x x)=(x x)
T
P(x x)
is a Lyapunov function for system (8), where
P 0 satises the Lyapunov equation PA( u) +
A( u)
T
P =I .
Property P.2 implies that, for all constant input
u
c
R, the boost converter has a unique equilibrium
point x = q( u
c
), which is globally uniformly ex-
ponentially stable. On the other hand, property P.3
implies that each steady-state output voltage , = x
2
is achieved by one and only one constant input u
c
.
3. Main result
If ,

E is a desired (setpoint) output voltage, the


CMC law is given as
u
c
=u + K
P1
( x
1
x
1
)
+K
P2
(,

x
2
) + K
I

t
0
(,

x
2
(o)) do, (10)
where u is a nominal control input, K
P1
and K
P2
are,
respectively, the current and the voltage proportional
gains, K
I
is the integral gain, and x
1
R
0
is a nom-
inal current value which can be computed, for each
value of u, from Eq. (7). Notice that system (4), (10)
establishes a nonlinear control problem.
The main contribution of this paper can be stated
as follows.
Theorem 2. Consider the DCDC boost converter
(4) under the CMC (10). If |K
P
| = |(K
P, 1
, K
P, 2
)
T
| is
small enough, for any bounded set of initial conditions
116 J. Alvarez-Ramirez, G. Espinosa-P erez / Systems & Control Letters 45 (2002) 113119
E R
2
0
, there exists K
max
I
0 depending on E such
that, for all K
I
(0, K
max
I
), and all initial conditions
x(0) E, the corresponding state trajectory x(t, x(0))
converges exponentially to an (bounded) equilibrium
point and ,(t) ,

as t .
The proof of the above theorem is divided into the
following steps. First, we study the output voltage
control problem under purely integral feedback (i.e.,
K
P
=0). Second, we prove that properties P.1P.4 are
invariant under sucient small proportional feedback
K
P
. As will be clear from the development, these two
steps are equivalent to the proof of the whole control
law.
3.1. Integral control
In this subsection, we study the stability of boost
converter (4) under purely integral control.
Proposition 3. Consider the DCDC boost con-
verter (4) under the integral feedback control
u
c
= u + K
I

t
0
(,

x
2
(o)) do. (11)
For any bounded set of initial conditions E R
2
0
,
there exists K
max
I
0 depending on E such that,
for all K
I
(0, K
max
I
), and all initial conditions
x(0) E, the corresponding state trajectory x(t, x(0))
is bounded and ,(t) ,

as t .
Proof. Without loosing generality, we will take u=0.
Write the equations describing the controlled boost
converter as
x = [(x, u
c
),
u
c
= K
I
(,

,),
, = x
2
(12)
with K
I
0, x(0)=x
0
, and u
c
(0)=u
c, 0
(0, 1). Dene
u

c
by
,

= q
2
(u

c
) = (1 S(u

c
))
1
E, (13)
i.e., u

c
is the constant input corresponding to the set-
point value ,

. By virtue of property P.3, u

c
ex-
ists and is unique. To shift the origin to the equi-
librium point, dene the new coordinates t(t) and
,(t) = (,
1
(t), ,
2
(t))
T
R
2
by
t(t) = u
c
(t) u

c
,
,(t) = x(t) q(u
c
(t)). (14)
Using these coordinates as state variables, system (12)
becomes
, =[(q(t + u

c
) + ,, t + u

c
)
K
I
Dq(t + u

c
) (q
2
(u

c
) q
2
(t + u

c
) + ,
2
),
t =K
I
(q
2
(u

c
) q
2
(t + u

c
) + ,
2
) (15)
with ,(0) = x
0
q(u
c, 0
) and t(0) = u
c, 0
u

c
. By
virtue of property P.2 in Proposition 1, the origin is
the unique equilibrium point of (15). Since q is a C
1
function, (,(t), t(t)) (0
2
, 0) as t implies that
,(t) ,

as t . Introduce the time scale t

def
= K
I
t
and dene the state variables in the new time scale as
:(t

) = ,(t

}K
I
),
w(t

) = t(t

}K
I
). (16)
Using t

, :, and w as new variables, rewrite (15) as


K
I
:

=[(q(w + u

c
) + :, w + u

c
)
K
I
Dq(w + u

c
) (q
2
(u

c
) q
2
(w + u

c
) + :
2
),
w

= K
I
(q
2
(u

c
) q
2
(w + u

c
) + :
2
) (17)
where :

= d:}dt

and w

= dw}dt

. System (17) is in
the form of a standard singular perturbation [2] with
: and w as the fast and slow variables, respectively,
and K
I
0 as the perturbation parameter. The corre-
sponding boundary-layer system is given by
:

= [(q(u
c, 0
) :, u
c, 0
), (18)
which, by virtue of property P.4 in Proposition 1, is
globally asymptotically exponentially stable about the
origin. Moreover, J
1
(:)=:
T
P: is a Lyapunov function
for system (18), where P 0 is the solution of the
Lyapunov equation PA(u
c, 0
)+A(u
c, 0
)
T
P=I . On the
other hand, the corresponding reduced system is
w

= q
2
(u

c
) q
2
(w + u

c
). (19)
J. Alvarez-Ramirez, G. Espinosa-P erez / Systems & Control Letters 45 (2002) 113119 117
By taking the quadratic function J
2
(w)=
1
2
w
2
, we have
that
J

2
= w(q
2
(u

c
) q
2
(w + u

c
)).
Since q
2
is a strictly increasing (property P.3 in
Proposition 1), we have that there exists a positive
constant o
1
such that q
2
(u

c
) q
2
(w + u

c
) o
1
w.
Hence, J

o
1
w
2
0, so that the reduced system
is globally asymptotically stable about the origin.
We notice that [(x, u
c
) is not a globally Lipchitz
function. However, since [(x, u
c
) C
1
, it is locally
Lipchitz. Under these arguments, the result is ob-
tained as a straightforward application of Theorem 2
in [2].
Basically, Proposition 3 establishes that a simple
low-gain integral control yields output voltage regu-
lation with internal stability.
3.2. Proportional control
Commonly, industrial power converters have a
high quality factor (i.e., low damping factor). To
enhance the transient response of the controlled con-
verter, a proportional current feedback is applied.
Here we study the stability of the boost converter
under proportional state feedback.
Proposition 4. Consider boost converter (4) under
the state feedback
u
c
=P(x, u
c, I
)
def
= K
P1
( x
1
x
1
) + K
P2
(,

x
2
) + u
c, I
, (20)
where the control input u
c, I
is left for integral ac-
tion. For K
P
| small enough, the closed-loop system
(4), (20) meets the following properties:
P.1

: (x, u
c, I
)
def
= [(x, P(x, u
c, I
)) : R
2
0
R R is a
C
1
function.
P.2

: There exists a C
1
function : R R
2
0
such
that, for all constant input u
c, I
R,
(x, u
c, I
) =0 i
(u
c, I
)
def
= (
1
(u
c, I
),
2
(u
c, I
))
T
= x. (21)
P.3

: The map
2
( u
c
) : R R
0
is globally Lipchitz
and strictly increasing, i.e., D
2
( u
c, I
) 0 for all
u
c, I
R.
P.4

: There exist two positive constants c


1
and :
1
such that for all u
c, I
R, x(0) contained in any
bounded set E R
2
0
, and all t 0,
|x(t, x(0)) (u
c, I
)|
6c
1
|x(0) q(u
c, I
)| exp(:
1
t). (22)
Proof. (P.1

) It is straightforward. (P.2

) From (7),
we can write x=( x), where ( x)=q(P( x, u
c, I
)). We
have that D( x) = Dq( u
c
)
T
DP( x, u
c, I
), where u
c
=
P( x, u
c, I
), DP( x, u
c, I
) = K
P
and
Dq(u
c
) =EDS(u
c
) (2R
1
(1 S(u
c
))
3
,
(1 S(u
c
))
2
).
The derivative DS( u
c
) is bounded and 1 S( u
c
)
is bounded away from zero, so that there exists a
positive constant o
2
such that |Dq( u
c
)| o
2
, for all
u
c
R. This yields ||D( x)|| 6o
2
|K
P
| 1 for |K
P
|
small enough. This shows that q(P( x, u
c, I
)) is a con-
traction [4]. Hence, the contraction mapping theorem
implies the existence and uniqueness of a C
1
function
x =( u
c, I
) that is solution of x =q(P( x, u
c, I
)). (P.3

)
From (7), we can get the following:
D(u
c, I
) =DS(P( x, u
c, I
))E1(P( x, u
c, I
))
(1 + K
P
D(u
c, I
)),
where 1(P( x, u
c, I
)) = (2(1 S(P( x, u
c, I
)))
3
, (1
S(P( x, u
c, I
)))
2
)
T
. Since both |DS(P( x, u
c, I
))| and
|1(P( x, u
c, I
))| are globally bounded, we have that
|D( u
c, I
)| is also a globally bounded function for |K
P
|
small enough. This proves that
2
( u
c, I
) is globally
Lipchitz. On the other hand, we have that
D(u
c, I
) =DS(P( x, u
c, I
)) (1 S(P( x, u
c, I
)))
2
E(1 + K
P
D(u
c, I
))
so that D( u
c, I
) 0 for |K
P
| small enough. (P.4

)
Write the system (4), (20) as
x = [(x, K
P
x + o + u
cI
), (23)
where o
def
= K
P1
x
1
+K
P2
,

. Let u
cI, 1
=(1+K
P
q)
1
u
c, I
and dene x
def
= x q(u
cI, 1
) = x q(1 + K
P
q)
1
(u
c, I
),
and write (23) as

x = [( x + q(u
cI, 1
), u
cI, 1
) + [( x, u
cI, 1
), (24)
118 J. Alvarez-Ramirez, G. Espinosa-P erez / Systems & Control Letters 45 (2002) 113119
where
[( x, u
cI, 1
)
=[[q(u
cI, 1
) + x, (1 + K
P
q)u
cI, 1
K
P
(q(u
cI, 1
) + x)] [(q(u
cI, 1
) + x, u
cI, 1
).
Since [(x, u
c
) is a C
1
function, we have that
|[( x, u
cI, 1
)| 6p|K
P
||x| for all x E R
2
0
.
(25)
By virtue of property P.2, the origin is the unique equi-
librium point of the system

x =[( x +q(u
cI, 1
), u
cI, 1
) =
A(u
cI, 1
) x (see Eq. (8)). Moreover, the origin is glob-
ally uniformly (in the constant input u
cI, 1
) exponen-
tially stable (property P.4). Hence, inequality (25)
and standard Lyapunov arguments with the quadratic
function J( x) =
1
2
x
T
P x lead to the conclusion that the
bounded set E R
2
0
is contained in the region of
attraction of the origin (semiglobal stability) for |K
P
|
small enough.
Remark 1. It should be noticed that the main obstruc-
tion to prove global stability via the above Lyapunov
arguments is the fact that [(x, u
c
+K
P
x) is not a glob-
ally Lipchitz function.
3.3. Proof of Theorem 2
In view of propositions 3 and 4, the proof of Theo-
rem 2 is straightforward. In fact, from Proposition 3,
system (4), (20) satises properties P.1

P.4

. By us-
ing u
c, I
= u + K
I

t
0
(,

x
2
(o)) do in Eq. (20), the
proof can be constructed along the same arguments as
those in the proof of Proposition 2.
Remark 2. Roughly speaking, Theorem 2 establishes
that a low-gain linear state-feedback control plus a
simple output voltage integral action yields stability
and asymptotic regulation of the output voltage for all
initial conditions contained in any given bounded set.
Remark 3 (Buckboost power converter). Although
we have focused mainly on the boost converter, anal-
ogous results can be established for the buckboost
converter. The averaged model with input saturation of
the converter is
x
1
= L
1
[(1 S(u
c
))x
2
+ S(u
c
)E],
x
2
= C
1
[ (1 S(u
c
))x
1
R
1
x
2
],
, = x
2
(26)
with the state vector x contained in the fourth quad-
rant. Analogous properties to those described in
Proposition 1 can be obtained. In particular,
q(u
c
) =

R
1
S(u
c
)(1 S(u
c
))
2
S(u
c
)(1 S(u
c
))
1

(27)
and Dq
2
( u
c
) = DS( u
c
) (1 S( u
c
))
2
E 0 for
all u
c
R. This is, contrary to the boost converter,
the map q
2
( u
c
) : R R
0
is strictly decreasing.
Following the same ideas that led to the proof of
Theorem 1, one concludes that K
I
0. Summarizing,
for the buckboost converter, Theorem 1 must be
as follows: Consider the DCDC buckboost con-
verter (26) under the CMC (5). If |K
P
| is small
enough, for any bounded set of initial conditions
E R
0
R
0
, there exists K
min
I
0 depend-
ing on E such that for all K
I
(K
min
I
, 0), and all
initial conditions x(0) E, the corresponding state
trajectory x(t, x(0)) is bounded and ,(t) ,

as
t .
4. Conclusions
We have presented a proof of the stabilization capa-
bility of CMC for DCDC power converters. Roughly
speaking, we have shown that CMC, which is com-
posed by a linear state feedback plus an output voltage
integral action plus a saturation, yields semiglobal sta-
bility with asymptotic regulation of the output voltage.
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