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AbeViet MDT1 DIODCKTS

# AbeViet MDT1 DIODCKTS

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10/05/2013

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Diode Circuits 1CHAPTER 2
DIODE CIRCUITS
As discussed in the previous section, diodes are essentially one-way valves. They carrycurrent in one direction, but block current in the other. In addition, in the forwardconduction mode, the voltage must go above a threshold before significant conductionoccurs. Diodes are used in a multitude of ways that utilize these characteristics.The objective of this course is not to look at hole and electron flows, but to see how thediodes can be used in circuits and how to analyze those circuits. For example, considerthe circuit below, Figure 1. We are generally not interested in the holes and electrons inthe diode, but rather, the current in the resistor or the voltage across the resistor.
Figure 1. A simple diode circuit
NUMERICAL METHODThe diode being a non-linear element means that the basic methods of circuit analysislearned in your circuits course cannot be used. Then, how does one go about analyzingthe circuit? For example, we can write a loop equationVs= Vd+ Vr = Vd+ I*RUnfortunately, there are two unknowns in this equation, I and Vd. The relationshipbetween voltage and current in the diode is given by
I I e
D
=
0
1( )
( )
Where V
T
is 25.9 mV at 300 degrees K, and I
O
is the reverse saturation current. If we putthe two equations together we get
V V RI e
S
D
= +
0
1( )
( )
(1)This equation cannot be solved analytically. But it can be solved numerically. You canmake a guess of the diode voltage and plug into the equation and see if you get a balance.

Diode Circuits 2If not, try another guess. This process can be carried out several ways. The simplest is touse a calculator, while more complex methods would use a computer. One interestingapproach is to use a math solving program on a personal computer such as MathCAD.Literally all circuits could be solved this way, but that would be impractical, especiallyfor more complex circuits. Secondly, the diode equation mentioned above onlyrepresents the hole-electron currents within the body of the diode. There is a considerableleakage on the surface of the semiconductor which makes the low current solutions inerror.GRAPHICAL METHODInstead of using the diode equation as the model, we can get quite satisfactory results byusing simpler models, or by using graphical methods from the plotted V-I characteristicof the diode. Consider the circuit in Figure 2. The loop equation isVs= Vd+ I*R (2)a. b.Figure 2. Diode circuit to be solved graphicallyIf we divide the circuit as shown in Figure 2b, the equation can be rewritten to solve forthe voltage at the division.Vd= 5 - I*R (3)This equation can be solved for current
R
=
5(4)This equation represents the relationship between current and terminal voltage for theleft-hand side of the circuit. The relationship between current and terminal voltage forthe right-hand side is just the equation for diode.
I I e
D
=
0
1( )
( )
(5)

Diode Circuits 3Each of these equations is just an I vs V
d
equation and can be plotted on a graph.Equation 4 is a linear equation and its plot is called the load line. It can easily be plottedby selecting values for V
d
and calculating I. For example, the two intercepts; V
d
= 0 and I= 0 are convenient choices. The equation 5 is the diode I vs V characteristic for the diode.It is usually obtained from a curve tracer in the laboratory. Both of these equations areplotted on the same graph in Figure 3. The operating point for the circuit is where thetwo plots cross.51
0
=
RI e
D
( )
( )
(6)
Figure 3. Plots for graphical solution
One problem with the graphical solution above is that the voltage scale is so large thatprecision in determining diode voltage is difficult. In many cases, the diode characteristicis plotted with a much lower maximum voltage than the voltage source in the circuit. Inthis case, the voltage intercept is off the scale and it is more difficult to plot the load line.This situation is easily handled by substituting in a fixed value of voltage in the load lineequation and solving for the current. An example is shown in Figure 4. The maximumvoltage on the diode characteristic plot is 2 Volts with the source voltage 5 Volts and aresistance of 1K
Ω.