Imagine budget is not an issue and you are asked to design the most efficient circuit. With efficient, I mean that the power used to perform the functions is used solely for that and is not dissipated as heat for example. Note that I am interested in answers at the component level, not at design level.

Some initial thoughts were: choosing high-efficiency DC/DC converters ICs, using LDOs, low ESR caps... What else could I add to this list to only select "high-efficiency electronic components"?

Edit: the idea of this post was too see what replies I would get from asking if there is such thing as "efficient electronic components" It seems no answer can be provided if the application is not specified. Therefore:

  1. What can you do at component level to have a more efficient DC/DC converter?
  2. Would you say that choosing ICs that have very low quiescent current is a good practice to have a "high-efficiency" or "low power" circuits. Please notice my use of ""
  • \$\begingroup\$ Too little information - there is no such animal as "at component level, not at design level". There is no way to say a design will function without considering it's purpose. (Of course if you want the most efficient circuit regardless of purpose that would be - no circuit at all.) \$\endgroup\$ – danmcb Jun 28 '18 at 6:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ What kind of circuit? I can design you a very efficient heater. \$\endgroup\$ – Colin Jun 28 '18 at 8:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ your question already shows your fallacies: Even the most efficient switching DC/DC converter is far less efficient than a simple LDO if the current taken from it is a couple nA, or fast changing or... It's always about the system level, so no general answer is possible. Solutions to problems are efficient, not components; I actually find that @Colin__s's comment is a very good one: What help is it that, for example, a TCXO uses less power than an OCXO, when you need the heat it produces to run stable? What help is a 1% increase in supply efficiency if your drone gets 10% heavier? \$\endgroup\$ – Marcus Müller Jun 28 '18 at 9:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ look into synchronous switching dc/dc that use a mosfet (rds-on) instead of a diode (0.5v) \$\endgroup\$ – dandavis Jun 28 '18 at 18:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ Consider a radio receiver. Use lots of inductors, instead of transistors (that dissipate power). Use the inductors to resonate with the various parasitics, thus making the parasitics be useful. \$\endgroup\$ – analogsystemsrf Jun 29 '18 at 3:47

If I was designing the most efficient circuit with cost not being a limiting factor I would use superconductors and Josephson Junctions

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