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 +
v
)

n
........................(1)where:C = capacitance of the diode at voltage, V.K = Constant.A = Area of crosssection of the diode.
v
= 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/
v
)

γ
........................(2)where:C = capacitance of the diode at voltage, V.
C
0
= capacitance of the diode at voltage, V= 0.
v
= 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.