A Power Transistor which is having a drop of 4 Volts across it and passing 3 amps thru it, may dissipate around 12 Watts of Heat, This is the problem in Series Regulators. While a Saturated Transistor or Mosfet with 1 Volts across and 3 Amps Thru will be just 3 Watts. But then a fully on transistor or mosfet cannot be controlled or regulated, for that we turn it ON and OFF very fast so that the right amount of current or voltage is delivered.
Power Electronic Circuits
The way this is done is PWM - Pulse Width Modulation. In this the mosfet or transistor is switched ON-OFF at say 100 kHz, but the ON duration is varied to control the output. The longer the duration of ON time more energy or punch is transferred. Switching losses will be present depending on how fast the rise and fall times of the pulses are.
The Pulsed AC or Chopped DC can be smoothed to the Average with Inductors and Capacitors. The reactive pulses of the Inductor has to be absorbed by a Schottky Rectifier 1N5817 -- 20V-1A fast switching diode with low switching losses.
This circuit is derived from an application note of LM2575, It is a Power Switching Regulator from National Semiconductor The details are here LM2575