Understand Low-Dropout Regulator (LDO) Concepts to Achieve Optimal Designs

Low-dropout regulators (LDOs) are deceptively simple devices that provide critical functions such as isolating a load from a dirty source or creating a low-noise source to power sensitive circuitry.

This brief tutorial introduces some common terms used with LDOs, explaining fundamental concepts such as dropout voltage, headroom voltage, quiescent current, ground current, shutdown current, efficiency, dc line-and-load regulation, transient line-and-load response, power-supply rejection ratio (PSRR), output noise, and accuracy, using examples and plots to make them easy to understand.


LDOs are often selected late in the design process with little analysis. The concepts presented here will enable designers to select the best LDO based on system requirements.


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