The charger operates in synchronous mode when the SRP-SRN voltage is above 5 mV (0.5-A inductor current for a 10 mΩ sense resistor). During synchronous mode, the internal gate-drive logic ensures there is break-before-make complimentary switching to prevent shoot-through currents. During the 30 ns dead time where both FETs are off, the body diode of the low-side power MOSFET conducts the inductor current. Having the low-side FET turn on keeps the power dissipation low, and allows safely charging at high currents. During synchronous mode, the inductor current is always flowing and the converter operates in Continuous Conduction Mode (CCM), creating a fixed two-pole system.
The charger operates in nonsynchronous mode when the SRP-SRN voltage is below 5 mV (0.5-A inductor current for a 10-mΩ sense resistor). The charger is forced into nonsynchronous mode when battery voltage is lower than 2 V or when the average SRP-SRN voltage is lower than 1.25 mV.
During nonsynchronous operation, the body diode of lower-side MOSFET can conduct the positive inductor current after the high-side N-channel power MOSFET turns off. When the load current decreases and the inductor current drops to zero, the body diode is turned off and the inductor current becomes discontinuous. This mode is called Discontinuous Conduction Mode (DCM). During DCM, the low-side N-channel power MOSFET turns on for around 80 ns when the bootstrap capacitor voltage drops below 4.2 V; then the low-side power MOSFET turns off and stays off until the beginning of the next cycle, where the high-side power MOSFET is turned on again. The 80-ns low-side MOSFET on-time is required to ensure the bootstrap capacitor is always recharged and able to keep the high-side power MOSFET on during the next cycle. This is important for battery chargers, where unlike regular DC-DC converters, there is a battery load that maintains a voltage and can both source and sink current. The 80-ns low-side pulse pulls the PH node (connection between high- and low-side MOSFET) down, allowing the bootstrap capacitor to recharge up to the REGN LDO value. After the 80 ns, the low-side MOSFET is kept off to prevent negative inductor current from occurring.
At very low currents during nonsynchronous operation, there may be a small amount of negative inductor current during the 80-ns recharge pulse. The charge should be low enough to be absorbed by the input capacitance. Whenever the converter goes into zero-percent duty cycle, the high-side MOSFET does not turn on, and the low-side MOSFET does not turn on (only 80 ns recharge pulse) either, and there is almost no discharge from the battery.
During the DCM mode, the loop response automatically changes and has a single-pole system at which the pole is proportional to the load current because the converter does not sink current and only the load provides a current sink. This means at very low currents, the loop response is slower, as there is less sinking current available to discharge the output voltage.