# Transistors

 Fundamentals
 What transistors do
 How to analyse transistor circuits
 Small and large signals
 Common-Emitter Amplifier
 Review of analysis and design
The Bipolar Junction Transistor
 BJT is a current amplifier
 The collector current is controlled by a much smaller base
current
 The sum of the collector and base currents flow into or out
of the emitter
 Base-emitter junction looks a lot like a PN junction
diode
Operating Regions - Cut Off
 If the base current is zero, the
collector current is also zero
 It doesn’t matter how big the collector-
emitter voltage, V
CE
, is
 i.e. collector-emitter junction looks like
an open circuit
 In this state, the transistor is in the
cut-off region
0 =
B
I
0 =
C
I
Operating Regions - Active
 Base current flows and controls the
larger collector current
 Collector current is proportional to the
base current
 Transistor is in the active region
 Operation can be summarised by two
equations:
B C
I I | =
(
¸
(

¸

=
T
BE
S C
V
V
I I exp
V
BE
I
C
I
B
( ) mV 25 / ~ = q kT V
T
Operating Regions - Saturation
 Collector current rises in proportion to
the base current
 As collector current rises, resistor
voltage rises and collector-emitter
voltage falls
 When V
CE
~ 0, it can’t go any lower
and the collector current cannot get
any higher
 The transistor is saturated
 Collector-emitter junction looks like a
short circuit
R
V
I
S
B
|
1
>
R
V
I
S
C
~
Amplification
 BJT amplifiers work by controlling the
collector current by the base-emitter voltage
 This is only possible in the active region
 Cut-off and saturation regions correspond to
the transistor turning fully ‘off’ or ‘on’ like a
switch
 In the active region, the transistor is only
partly ‘on’ and the current can be controlled
Small Signals
 We want circuits with a linear
response but real transistors
aren’t linear
Voltage
C
u
r
r
e
n
t

=v
=i
v i ·
 Small variations (i.e. signals!)
are denoted by lower case
 If the range of voltages/currents
is kept small, response is
approximately linear
AI
AV
V
I
 Average (or quiescent) levels
are denoted by capital letters
Small Signal Collector Current
(
¸
(

¸

=
T
BE
S C
V
V
I I exp
BE C
v i ·
Mutual Conductance
 I
C
and V
BE
are exponentially
related
 i
C
and v
BE
, on the other hand,
are approximately linearly
related
 The constant of
proportionality, g
m
, is known
as the mutual conductance
 It isn’t a real conductance,
but it is the ratio between a
current and a voltage
BE m C
v g i =
Estimating g
m
 The small signal behaviour is
estimated by a tangent to the
exponential I
C
-V
BE
curve
 g
m
is, therefore, simply the
BE m C
v g i =
(
¸
(

¸

= =
T
BE
S
BE BE
C
m
V
V
I
V V
I
g exp
d
d
d
d
(
¸
(

¸

=
T
BE
T
S
V
V
V
I
exp
T
C
V
I
=
Amplification
V
BE
I
C
BE m C
v g i =
Assume that the transistor is biased in the
active region somehow…
Collector voltage, V
C
, is related to I
C
by Ohm’s
law
C C S C
R I V V ÷ =
Small signal ratio between collector voltage
and collector current is:
C
C
C
C
C
R
I
V
i
v
÷ = =
d
d
So:
m C
BE
C
C
C
BE
C
g R
v
i
i
v
v
v
÷ = =
R
C
V
C
Simple Common-Emitter Amplifier
 I
B
provides a d.c. base current to
bias the transistor in the active
region
 C
IN
couples the input voltage,
removing the d.c. base bias voltage
 C
IN
is a short circuit to a.c. signals…
 …but an open circuit to the d.c.
bias current
 v
BE
is, therefore, equal to v
IN

Analysis
IN BE
v v =
IN m BE m C
v g v g i = =
C C S OUT
R I V V ÷ =
C
C
OUT
C
OUT
R
I
V
i
v
÷ = =
d
d
m C
IN
C
C
OUT
IN
OUT
g R
v
i
i
v
v
v
÷ = × =
Biasing
 Gain is proportional to g
m
which is,
in turn, proportional to I
C
 In this circuit,

 Unfortunately, | has a very wide
tolerance
 The gain is, therefore, not
predictable
B C
I I | =
Reliable Biasing
 Collector current is set
accurately regardless of |
 C
E
ensures that the whole of
the a.c. input voltage is still
dropped across V
BE
 R
B
provides the d.c. base
bias current
 Usually, the current source is
approximated by a resistor
E C
B C
C B E
I I
I I
I I I
~
>>
+ =
Practical Amplifier
 To analyse the circuit:
 Determine quiescent
conditions
 Calculate mutual
conductance
 Calculate small signal
performance
 Voltage Gain
 Input Impedance
 Output Impedance
 Cut-off frequency
The Story so Far
 Small signal analysis is used to simplify calculations
by ‘linearising’ the non-linear response of the
transistor
 Using mutual conductance, gain calculations are now
only a couple of lines of equations
 Careful choice of the biasing network leads to reliable
performance
 Next time – practical amplifier calculations, input &
output impedances and capacitor calculations