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I'm considering options for an isolated power supply (1mA @3V) with very low noise pickup and capacitance to mains/ground. Is there a simple optically-isolated solution, preferably using an off-the-shelf IC?

I see no theoretical reason why properly coupled LED + photo-voltaic generator (ideally, integrated into an IC/package) would not do the job. I would be satisfied with 5-10% efficiency (but do not know to achieve that).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If you think you can achieve 5-10% efficiency, so what is the question? And for my opinion, "properly coupled..stuff" is not easier than using off-the-shelf IC.. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eugene Sh.
    Mar 18, 2015 at 16:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Eugene Sh.: I hopefully clarified the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – fgrieu
    Mar 18, 2015 at 17:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why is using transformers like everyone else in the world not an option? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 18, 2015 at 19:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @whatsisname: a transformer is definitely an option. I'm mostly afraid of primary/secondary capacitance. \$\endgroup\$
    – fgrieu
    Mar 18, 2015 at 19:58

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I'm guessing that you'll be lucky to get 1% end-to-end efficiency with reasonably priced parts- maybe more like 0.1%. if that doesn't bother you maybe try 1W (or 3W) white LED or LEDs coupled to a fairly decent PV panel and some electronics to regulate the output to 3V.

There was a COTS fiber solution to this (a few hundred mW), but if I recall correctly price was several thousand dollars. IR lasers can have higher efficiency than LEDs, and they can be tuned to the PV wavelength.

Transformers are definitely going to be more efficient if you can find a way to use one. Unless you use light pipes or fibers to couple the light the large surface area of the emitter and PV cell may result in a significant coupling anyhow.

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A photovoltaic (solar panel) looks like a viable solution for the power you require. Run a light source of your choice off the mains and illuminate a solar panel with it.

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