Power MOSFET Basics
Vrej Barkhordarian, International Rectifier, El Segundo, Ca.
Discrete power MOSFETsemploy semiconductorprocessing techniques that aresimilar to those of today's VLSIcircuits, although the devicegeometry, voltage and currentlevels are significantly differentfrom the design used in VLSIdevices. The metal oxidesemiconductor field effecttransistor (MOSFET) is basedon the original field-effecttransistor introduced in the70s. Figure 1 shows thedevice schematic, transfercharacteristics and devicesymbol for a MOSFET. Theinvention of the powerMOSFET was partly driven bythe limitations of bipolar power junction transistors (BJTs)which, until recently, was thedevice of choice in powerelectronics applications.Although it is not possible todefine absolutely the operatingboundaries of a power device,we will loosely refer to thepower device as any devicethat can switch at least 1A.The bipolar power transistor isa current controlled device. Alarge base drive current ashigh as one-fifth of thecollector current is required tokeep the device in the ONstate.Also, higher reverse base drivecurrents are required to obtainfast turn-off. Despite the very advanced state of manufacturability and lower costs of BJTs, theselimitations have made the base drive circuit design more complicated and hence more expensive than thepower MOSFET.
SourceContactFieldOxideGateOxideGateMetallizationDrainContactn* Drainp-SubstrateChanneln* Source
DSB(Channel or Substrate)SG
Power MOSFET (a) Schematic, (b) Transfer Characteristics, (c)Device Symbol.