Active rectification, or synchronous rectification, is a technique for improving the efficiency of rectification by replacing diodes with actively-controlled switches such as transistors, usually power MOSFETs or power BJTs. Historically, vibrator driven switches or motor-driven commutators have also been used for mechanical rectifiers and synchronous rectificatio
The constant voltage drop of a standard p-n junction diode is typically between 0.7 V and 1.7 V, causing significant power loss in the diode. Electric power depends on current and voltage: the power loss rises proportional to both current and voltage.
In low voltage converters (around 10 volts and less), the voltage drop of a diode (typically around 0.7 to 1 volt for a silicon diode at its rated current) has an adverse effect on efficiency. One classic solution replaces standard silicon diodes with Schottky diodes, which exhibit very low voltage drops (as low as 0.3 volts). However, even Schottky rectifiers can be significantly more lossy than the synchronous type, notably at high currents and low voltages.When addressing very low-voltage converters, such as a buck converter power supply for a computer CPU (with a voltage output around 1 volt, and many amperes of output current), Schottky rectification does not provide adequate efficiency. In such applications, active rectification becomes necessary