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Microwave Diode

Microwave Diode

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Published by AKHI9

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Published by: AKHI9 on Jul 13, 2010
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03/30/2013

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R F and Microwave Diodes - An Introduction
 Anoop N. K 
Page: 1
R F and Microwave Diodes
Diodes which finds application in R F and Microwave circuits are classified under this category.At lower frequencies these diodes behave like ordinary junction diodes. But at R F and microwavefrequencies , their characteristics can be made use to process signals in that frequency range. Theclassification chart is shown below.
R F and Microwave DiodesVaractor PIN Step Recovery Mixer Detector TED
*
Parametric TunnelDiodes Diodes Diodes Diodes Diodes amplifier Diodes DiodesGUNN, IMPATTLSA, TRAPATT, etc
* T
ransferred
E
lectron
D
evices
(1). Varactor Diodes
In P-N junction as the junction is formed holes and electrons at the junction diffuses toeither sidesleaving behind immobile charged ions. So as the equilibrium is reached at the junction only ions will beleft out. This region is called the depletion region. This layer is the cause of contact potential of the diode.On either sides of the layer there are electrons and holes. So this layer behaves like an insulator separatingcharged particles. This analogues to a parallel plate capacitor.When the diode is forward biased the electrons and holes gets energy to cross the junction andthey recombine with the opposite charge at the other side of the junction. This results in a storage of charges on either sides of the junction. This in turn is equivalent to a capacitance calledDiffusioncapacitance. The value of this is negligibly small.When the diode is reverse biased more electrons and holes move away from the junction, andeffectively the depletion layer width increases. As in the case of a parallel plate capacitor ( where thecapacitance is inversely proportional to the distance between the plates ), the capacitance decreases.This capacitance is called transition capacitance. Comparatively this is more than the diffusioncapacitance.This property of varying the diode capacitance with the reverse voltage is useful in tuningcircuits, Automatic Frequency Control ( AFC ) circuits, etc. Hence Varactor diodes finds application inthese areas. The variation of capacitance with frequency is dependent on the semiconductor doping,because the concentration of electrons affects the capacitance. Depending on the doping, varactor diodesare classified as Abrupt Junction and Hyperabrupt Junctionvaractors. The variation of the capacitance withvoltage in these two cases are illustrated below.
capacitance ( pF )Atoms/CC
10010
19
 
HyperabruptHyperabrupt10
18
1010
17
Abrupt Abrupt
10
16
10
15
Voltage
10 20(
Volts
) 2 4 6
Distance from junction
(Microns)
 
R F and Microwave Diodes - An Introduction
 Anoop N. K 
Page: 2 
In the case of Abrupt junction diodes, the capacitance variation is roughly inversely proportionalto the reverse voltage. The variation is represented by the following equation.C = K.A.( V +
)
-
n
........................(1)where:C = capacitance of the diode at voltage, V.K = Constant.A = Area of cross-section of the diode.
= Built in potential of the diode.
n =
Slope exponent.In the case of Hyperabrupt junction diodes, the capacitance variation is represented by thefollowing equation.C =
C
0
.( 1 + V/ 
)
-
γ 
 
........................(2)where:C = capacitance of the diode at voltage, V.
C
0
= capacitance of the diode at voltage, V= 0.
= Built in potential of the diode.
γ 
=
Slope exponent.The only difference between the above two equations are that in the case of Hyperabrupt diodes, the slopeexponent (
γ γ 
) is a function of the voltage. This varies in the range of 0.5 to 2, whereas slope exponent inthe case of Abrupt diodes is approximately equal to 0.5. The slope exponent is generally called “Gamma”.Quality Factor of a varactor( Q - Factor )
A tuning varactor can be represented by the following electrical equivalent circuit.CjCj = Junction Capacitance.Rs Rs = Series Resistance.Rj = Junction resistance.RjThe resistor ‘Rs’ represents the resistance of the diode material. This causes unwanted power dissipation inthe diode. This dissipation should be as low as possible. To measure this a parameter called Quality factor isintroduced. It is defined as,Q = 2.
π
. Energy stored / Energy dissipated per cycle.= 1 / ( 2.
π
.f.Cj. Rs ).Where: f = Frequency.From the above equation it is clear that Q factor varies inversely as the frequency. High Q factor is preferredfor a varactor to give better performance. If the Q factor at one frequency is known, the value at another frequency canbe calculated as,Q at f 
1
= Q at f 
2 .
( f 
2
 / f 
1
)Usually manufacturers measures the Q factor at a higher frequency and extrapolate to lower frequency(usually 50 MHz ), using the above relationship.Another important parameter of the varactor diodes is the capacitance ratio. This is the ratio of the diodecapacitance at a lower voltage to the value at a higher voltage. This gives the range in which we can operate the diode.A higher value of capacitance ratio ( also called ‘tuning ratio’ ), is preferred.
 
R F and Microwave Diodes - An Introduction
 Anoop N. K 
Page:
( 2 ). PIN Diodes ( Positive Intrinsic Negative )
PIN diode is a semiconductor device that operates as a variable resistor at RF and Microwave frequencies.It can also be used as a switch and Limiter. The variable resistor property makes it usable as an Attenuator. 
P
 
IN
 
W
The figure shows the construction of PIN diode. A P -type material and N -type are separated by an intrinsicregion. The thickness of the intrinsic region has a major role in the characteristics of the diode.When forward biased, holes and electrons are injected from P and N regions to the Intrinsic region. Thesecharges do not immediately recombine, instead a finite quantity of charge always remain stored and effectively resultsin lowering the resistivity of the I - region. The quantity of the stored charge depends on the carrier life time
(
τ
), andthe forward current I
F.
Charge StoredQ = I
F .
τ......................... (1)
The resistance of the intrinsic region under forward bias is given byResistanceR
S
= W
2
 / (
µ
N +
µ
P ). Q...............( 2 )Where :W = I - region width
µ
N = electron mobility
µ
P = hole mobility
[
 
 Note
: The velocity of electrons under an applied electric field is directly proportional to the electric field. If ‘
E
’ isthe electric field intensity and ‘
v
‘ is the electron velocity, then
v
E
or,
v
==
µµ
E
where
 
µ =µ =
Mobility of electrons
]
Combining both equations we get :R
S
= W
2
 / (
µ
N +
µ
P ). I
F .
τ
So as the forward current increases the resistance decreases. This explains the use as a Current ControlledResistor. The graph shown below gives the resistance variation characteristics.
R
S
2.0
( Ohms )1.51.00.5
1.0101001000I
F
( mA )
Applications

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