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Power Mosfet

Power Mosfet

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Published by Ajay Dmello
Describes the application and functionality of a Power MOSFET
Describes the application and functionality of a Power MOSFET

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Published by: Ajay Dmello on Nov 08, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/12/2010

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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
ox
GS
T
00
D
(a)(b)
D
DSB(Channel or Substrate)SG
(c)Figure 1.
Power MOSFET (a) Schematic, (b) Transfer Characteristics, (c)Device Symbol.
 
Another BJT limitation is that both electrons and holescontribute to conduction. Presence of holes with their highercarrier lifetime causes the switching speed to be several orders of magnitude slower than for a power MOSFET of similar size andvoltage rating. Also, BJTs suffer from thermal runaway. Theirforward voltage drop decreases with increasing temperaturecausing diversion of current to a single device when severaldevices are paralleled. Power MOSFETs, on the other hand, aremajority carrier devices with no minority carrier injection. Theyare superior to the BJTs in high frequency applications whereswitching power losses are important. Plus, they can withstandsimultaneous application of high current and voltage withoutundergoing destructive failure due to second breakdown. PowerMOSFETs can also be paralleled easily because the forwardvoltage drop increases with increasing temperature, ensuring an even distribution of current among allcomponents.However, at high breakdown voltages (>200V) the on-state voltage drop of the power MOSFET becomeshigher than that of a similar size bipolar device with similar voltage rating. This makes it more attractiveto use the bipolar power transistor at the expense of worse high frequency performance. Figure 2 showsthe present current-voltage limitations of power MOSFETs and BJTs. Over time, new materials,structures and processing techniques are expected to raise these limits.
20001500100050001101001000Maximum Current (A)
   H  o   l   d  o   f   f   V  o   l   t  a  g  e   (   V   )
BipolarTransistorsMOS
Figure 2
. Current-VoltageLimitations of MOSFETs and BJTs.
DrainMetallizationDrainn
+
Substrate(100)n
-
Epi LayerChannelsn
+
pn
+
p
+
Body Regionp
+
Drift RegionGSDSourceGateOxidePolysiliconGateSourceMetallization
Figure 3.
Schematic Diagram for an n-Channel Power MOSFET and the Device.

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