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SEMICONDUCTORS lODES

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Licence By Post

The staples in this book can caleh fingers, Not suitable for small children. Care when handling.

8 4,1,1 iSSUE 1 3l

AUTHORITY

It is IMPORTANT to note that the information in this book is for study /training purposes only.

When carrying out a procedure/work on aircraft/ aircraft equipment you MUST always refer to the relevant aircraft maintenance manual or equipment manufacturer's handbook.

You should also follow the requirements of your national regulatory authority (the CAA in the UK) and laid down company policy as regards local procedures, recording, report writing, documentation etc.

For health and safety in the workplace you should follow the regulations/guidelines as specified by the equipment manufacturer, your company, national safety authorities and national governments.

NOTE

It is policy to review our study material in the light of changing technology and syllabus requirements. This means that books are re-written and/ or updated on a regular basis.

LBP

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Aylesbury Bucks

HP20 I QA UK

Tel (+ 44) 01296433871

Fax (+ 44) 01296 330697

Ern.nl :::fo,IJlcenceb\·pos[ com

\\;ehslte l ice ncebvposr.r om

CONTENTS

Atomic structure Semi conductors Rectifier action Diodes

Clipping or limiting Clamping

Diode testing

Zener diode

Thyristors

LEOs

Varister Photoconductive diode

PAGE

1

3

7

8 17 22 30 31 33 37 39 40

HOW TO TACKLE THIS BOOK

Written to level 2 of the syllabus for the B2 person. The book also being suitable for the B 1 person, although those subjects that are required are mostly to level 1 standard (some parts of the book are not required at all). There is no requirement for the A line mechanic to study this module.

It is recommended that the B 1 person contact his/her tutor for the level required and refer to the JAR66 syllabus.

For most people the subject matter will have to be read through more than once to get it to "sink in". But given careful study and a little time the material can be learnt and understood.

SEMICONDUCTOR MATERIALS

The molecular structure and properties of insulators and conductors and semiconductors has been dealt with in module 3. However, to revise your theory on semiconductors figure 1 shows the structure of the germanium and silicon atoms, two very important elements in the manufacture of diodes and transistors.

~\\'Q"~\

/I/~::;\\ \

/1 ~\

/ I \ \

(r 8 ))11

=: //091

~J

GERMANIUM ATOM

SILICON ATOM

Fig. 1 ATOMIC STRUCTURE

Bear in mind that the diagrams are only two-dimensional and that in reality the orbiting electrons do not rotate in perfect circles or rotate in a flat plane.

From figure 1 it can be seen that each atom has four electrons in its outer shell, these electrons are called VALENCE ELECTRONS, they are farthest from the nucleus and therefore are least tightly bound (less attractive force). It is the valence electrons that play the active part in electrical conduction.

Silicon and germanium are crystalline substances and the valence electrons of the individual atom link up and arrange themselves with the valence electrons in adjacent atoms to form CO-VALENT BONDS. Every atom has a half-share in eight valence electrons. This gives a very stable arrangement of a regularly repeating three dimensional structure called a crystal lattice. Figure 2 shows the two dimensional effect of the covalent bonding. Pure silicon and germanium are therefore very good insulators.

At room temperatures the atoms are vibrating sufficiently in the lattice for a few bonds to break, setting free some valence electrons, leaving a "hole" where the electron was. Free electrons are attracted to the hole as the atom, short of an electron is now positively charged.

~.- +-, o ~ .: --· .. o

:'<:£)": (®::

O····;~ .. _ .. c::?· .. ·.'~

Co-valent : t::L\'.

: ~ 14loo1~-Valence shell

~~:::z?···"···~.' . .-· ... O Gerrnaru um

~. ffi .: ~. ®-f--or silicon

~ .•..... ~ O·······~atom

Each valence shell has effectively eight electrons - four of these corne from the atom itself and four others corne from four adjacent atoms

Fig. 2 CO-VALENT BONDS

If a battery is placed across a pure semiconductor, electrons are attracted to the positive terminal. These free electrons travel through the semiconductor 'hopping' from one hole to another, and it therefore appears that the positive holes are moving towards the negative terminal. This current flow is very small and is called INTRINSIC CONDUCTION.

To understand the concept of electrons moving one way and holes moving the other is not easy but it can be likened to an empty seat at the end of a row in a cinema. Assume the vacant seat to be at the right hand end of the row. If the first person next to the seat moves into it, then he/she has moved to the right, but the vacant seat has moved one place to the left. If each person ill the row does the same (ie moves to the empty seat to his/her right) as soon as it becomes empty, the vacancy (hole) appears to have moved along the row in one direction while the occupants (electrons) have move in the opposite direction.

If the temperature is raised more bonds break down and conduction increases ie, resistance decreases, this means more heat is generated, and more conduction occurs, resistance decreases further, more heat is generated - and so on. This is called thermal runaway and will eventually destroy the crystal structure.

Semiconductors have a negative temperature coefficient. In other words their resistance decreases with an increase in temperature.

We need now to look at how we can change the basic insulator into a conductor. This is achieved by mixing (doping) a very small quantity of a selected impurity atom into the semiconductor material. (Typically 1 part in 101°, The material now becomes an extrinsic semiconductor.

There are two types of extrinsic semiconductors:

*

N - Type semi-conductor material. P- Type semi conductor material.

*

N-Type Semi-conductor Material

Doping impurities such as phosphorus or arsenic are used. These have five (pentavalent) electrons in the outermost orbit. When introduced into the basic material, four of the electrons join up with the co-valent bonding, whilst one electron is left 'free'. (The number of free electrons can be strictly controlled by this doping).

The free electrons can migrate through the inter-atomic space and can therefore act as current carriers when a (very low) voltage is applied.

Semiconductor material doped with Phosphorus or Arsenic.

Fig. 3 N-TYPE SEMI-CONDUCTOR

Note: Although extra electrons have been inserted, it must be remembered that each impurity atom is itself neutral and so the whole of the N-type material is also neutral.

MAJORITY CARRIER - ELECTRONS (NEGATIVE) [N = N-TYPEJ

MINORITY CARRIER - HOLES (due to intrinsic conduction)

Donor .mpu rnv atom \phosphorusl

+t t+ ++

Silicon atom -~-~---.. 0

{nu cteu s end Inner -+---0 0...... ......

electrons: ...... ......

+t ',+ ++

=:o=:e=:o=:

Spare electron ----lLJP + +

=:O=:O=:O=:

(;00alen0 + + + + +

bond

.... .... ....
....
.... ........ -_
-
.... 4-0, ....
'<,
MaJontv charge Minoritv charge
""carner (electron) carrier [hole!
Electron
flow ( "
-II
I Crvstal lattice of n-tvpe silicon

Fig. 4 ELECTRON FLOW IN AN N-TYPE SEMI-CONDUCTOR

p- Type Semi-conductor Material

In this material, impurities such as Indium or Aluminium are used. These have three (trivalent) electrons in the outermost orbit. When introduced into the basic material, all three electrons link into the crystal structure but this leaves a 'hole' in the structure. This hole is looking for an electron to fill it and so it is a form of positive current carrier. If a (very small) voltage is applied, electrons will move to fill in the holes but this forms fresh holes and so there is a general drift of holes through the material from positive to negative (in the opposite sense to the electron flow in the N-type material). Again, the material is neutral.

Semiconductor material doped with Indium or Aluminium.

Fig. 5 P-TYPE SEMI-CONDUCTOR

MAJORITY CARRIER - HOLES U~OSITIVE) [P = P-TYPEj

MINORITY CARRIER - ELECTRONS (due to intrinsic conduction)

p-tvpe semiconductor

Acceptor .mpuntv atom

(boron I '.___U_, + + +

""0+0""0""

.... ....... .... .....

SIlicon atom ..1...1. W' + + +

(nucleus and mner-----_ T 'f

electrons) .... '0...... 0 .....

.... ...... ......

Hole (tncomp!:2~ + +

bon d] 0 0 0

.... ...... ...... ......

........................

-,t ++ ++

Covalent bond

4-04-0 4-0 oC.()
- 4-0 ~..-o -
..-0 ~ ..-0 \
j:aJonty charge '. I
Mtnonty charge I
carrier (holel carrier (electron) I
I
Electron I
I now )
\ (
.. I
• I Crystal lattice of p-type silicon

Fig. 6 ELECTRON FLOW IN A P-TYPE SEMI-CONDUCTOR

THE P-N JUNCTION

Imagine a piece of N-type material being brought into contact with a piece of P-type material. Both pieces are, up to the instant of contact, neutral.

Remembering that the holes are looking for electrons to complete the lattice network, it can be seen that electrons will migrate across the junction to fill in the holes as soon as the two materials are brought together.

p + + D
+ +
+ +
+ +
-
+ = a hole - = a free electron Fig. 7 P-N JUNCTION BEFORE CONTACT

As electrons leave the N-type material, it will become positively charged. As electrons fill holes in the P-type material, it will become negatively charged.

A BARRIER POTENTIAL is built up at the boundary, forming what is known as the Depletion Layer (figure 8). This build-up in potential will eventually be strong enough to stop further migration of electrons across the junction.

- ~

+

- N

P + + + i·~!

+ \:

+

\

DEPLETION LAYER

Fig. 8 P-N JUNCTION

The Barrier Potential is approximately O.2V for Germanium and O.6V for Silicon. It must be remembered that the barrier potential is always present at a P-N junction - even if it is sitting in a storage bag on a shelf.

If an external supply is connected +ve to the P-type material and -ve to the N-type, it will oppose the barrier potential. If it is bigger than the barrier potential, the barrier potential will be overcome and current will flow, electrons moving from supply negative to positive and holes moving in the opposite direction, as shown in figure 9. This is known as FORWARD BIASING the junction.

:·······-::-:-tl·:············~

. .

-

p + + + + + +

N

-

'------+-t' .... ------- ...

I

Fig. 9 FORWARD BIAS P-N JUNCTION

The intrinsic conduction, (covalent bonds breaking down at normal temperature) produces minority carriers and thus small current flows in the same direction as the majority carriers ie, it adds to it.

If the external supply is connected in the other sense, +ve to the N-type and -ve to the P-type, it will reinforce and increase the barrier potential and therefore no current will flow, except for any slight leakage current (see below). The depletion layer will be enlarged as shown in figure 10. This is known as REVERSE BIASING the junction.

+ ENLARGED

:-·····=--+1············/ DEPLETION LAYER

p++ 1- N

_ + f--

+

+ +

-~ 1+ ~------~~I----------

Fig. 10 REVERSE BIAS P-N JUNCTION

At first sight it might appear that there is no current flow, but due to intrinsic conduction, which produces minority carriers, which causes a tiny current to flow across the junction this is known as the LEAKAGE CURRENT.

Raising the temperature of the P-N junction causes a rapid increase in the generation of minority carriers, and therefore leakage current increases. At room temperature each 10°C increase roughly doubles the rate of generation for germanium.

For silicon the doubling rate is SoC. It might appear from this that germanium would be used for higher temperature conditions, however, although the rate of increase is greater for silicon, its actual value is considerably less than that of germanium, so silicon is used where high temperatures are encountered.

RECTIFIER ACTION

If an ac supply is applied to a P-N junction then when 'P' is made positive to 'N' then the positive half cycle will flow through the junction as it is forward biased. On the negative half cycle of the ac 'P' is negative to 'N'.

This is the reversed bias mode and the junction will not conduct on this half of the cvcle.

p

N

n- ~ oov

The junction passes current through R only when the P material is positive. Therefore an output voltage is produced only on the positive input half cycle.

-

Fig. 11 ACTION OF A DIODE

CONVENTIONAL FLOW

Fig. 12 DIODE SYMBOL

Anode _ Anode Anode -
-_._---- ~ ---_ --
Drrecuon ~')f t
convennc.nel
cur-rent when
anode IS
positive ,
Band
a t horie C •. thode
Cathode
(a) (b) ( c) (d) (e)
Fig. 13 DIODES The P-N junction is acting as a rectifier and is known as a SEMICONDUCTOR DIODE. The symbol is as shown in figure 12.

It is important to note that the arrow points in the direction of CONVENTIONAL current flow and the two connections are known as the ANODE (A) and CATHODE (K). The cathode (negative end) is often marked with a band as shown in figure 13.

Diode Characteristics

Typical characteristic curves for silicon and germanium diodes at 25°C are shown in figure 14.

When forward biased, a voltage is required to overcome the barrier voltage before the diode current increases; this is typically O.2V for germanium and O.6V for silicon. After this, current rises rapidly as the applied voltage increases.

+ImA

+ImA

-0 ..., Silicon
Germanium ... c
ell II) diode
diode ~ t:
0 ;l
~ o
p P
-50 V -200 V
-V V
II) ...,
rn c
... II)
II) ...
:> ...
II) ;l
0:: o
- luA Fig. 14 DIODE CHARACTERISTIC CURVES

The left-hand side of the origin of the characteristic curve is where the voltage is reversed, ie reverse biased. As can be seen the current is extremely small, this is the leakage current due to minority carriers.

Note that the voltage scale is not linear, with the larger divisions on the negative axes of the graph.

As the voltage is increased at a certain point the current increases rapidly to a high value. This is known as AVALANCHE BREAKDOWN and will cause permanent damage to the diode if it is allowed to occur.

It occurs because as the reverse voltage becomes too great, the minority carriers are accelerated to a point where they heat up the diode and collide with atoms in the depletion layer. This will dislodge further electrons, thus creating more minority carriers and this effect 'avalanches' to cause a rapid rise in current.

The breakdown voltage can have any value from a few volts up to lOOOV for silicon and 100V for germanium depending on the construction of the diode and the level of doping.

Diode Parameters

Diodes are manufactured in a wide range of voltage and current ratings. These must be taken into account when choosing a diode for a particular circuit.

Typical parameters considered are:

*

Maximum forward current Peak inverse voltage

Maximum operating temperature

*

*

The diode has a small forward resistance when it is conducting, so power must be dissipated as it conducts. This power dissipation causes heat at the junction, this local heating must be kept down, as excessive leakage current will occur. There is therefore a MAXIMUM FORWARD CURRENT so that the temperature is not reached which will cause deterioration of the structure of the diode.

The PEAK INVERSE VOLTAGE (PIV) is the maximum operating voltage appearing across the terminals of the diode acting in the reverse

direction, and therefore represents the maximum reverse voltage that _

may be applied to the diode without reverse breakdown occurring. This

may be written as Maximum Reverse Voltage instead of PIV.

MAXIMUM OPERATING TEMPERATURE is a maximum junction temperature above, which the structure of the diode deteriorates. The maximum forward current is so chosen that this temperature is not exceeded in the worst combination of circumstances.

However, it should be remembered that the maximum forward current will also depend on the temperature in which the diode is operating; and maximum forward current is usually quoted at two or more ambient temperatures.

We know as the temperature rises the leakage current increases and as a guide the leakage current doubles in value for each lODe rise in temperature.

Depending on its use, frequency is also a parameter to be considered, but generally these are special diodes and will be discussed later.

Application of Semi-conductor P-N Junction Diodes

Diodes in Series

When diodes are connected in series to a known load then it must be remembered that the current will be the same and the maximum forward current must not be exceeded for each diode. Because each diode has a small forward resistance there will be a volts drop across each diode, which will depend on each diode's characteristics. These individual volts drops will subtract from the supply voltage to leave a certain voltage across the load (see later notes on rectifiers).

TO LOAD

Fig. 15 DIODES IN SERIES

TO LOAD

Fig. 16 DIODES IN PARALLEL

Diodes in Parallel

Where current supplied by one rectifier would exceed its maximum forward current, or exceed its maximum operating temperature, it is possible to connect two or more diodes in parallel. The current, therefore, will be divided between the diodes.

- 1 1 -

The voltage across each diode will be the same and the current distribution between the diodes will depend on the characteristics of the diodes (again, for further information on rectifiers see later notes in this series).

Single Phase Half Wave Rectifier

With reference to figure 17, when terminal A is positive with respect to B the diode conducts, this causes a current to flow around the circuit and a voltage will be developed across RL. When the input polarity reverses terminal A will be negative with respect to B and the diode will switch off.

® D,
+
'c :PPl' , ) -.
R,
@ Fig. 17 HALF WAVE RECTIFICATION

The voltage developed across RL is therefore half-sine-waves and is known as a half wave rectifier. The output being de, albeit variable. The average value being half that of the supply, ie peak x 0.318. (assuming no losses). The output dc 'ripples' have a frequency equal to the input frequency of the ac supply, ie ripple frequency = supply frequency.

Single Phase Full Wave Rectifier

-

As the name implies this uses both half cycles of the input wave form. Figure 18 shows diodes D1 and D2 used with a transformer, which is centre tapped at C. The point C can be considered as neutral with terminals A and B swinging alternately positive and negative about it.

When A is positive to C, Diode D1 conducts with D2 switched off. On the other halfcycle of input, B is positive to C and D2 conducts with D: switched off. The output is therefore undirectional, with both diodes alternately conducting, giving a full wave output across RL. The average output voltage is 0.637 x peak (assuming no losses), ie average of the supply.

- 1:2 -

Peak voltage v

Average voltage ~ 0.637 v

®

D,

D,conducts

Fig. 18 FULL WAVE RECTIFICATION

The output de 'ripple' is therefore twice the input supply frequency. Having to use the double winding on the transformer makes this component more bulky in size and therefore more expensive.

A point to note about this circuit is that when DJ is conducting, the voltage across the load resistor RL is the peak voltage. With D2 cut off the voltage across C-B is in series with this voltage, so these two voltages combine to give a total of twice the peak voltage.

This will act as a reverse voltage across D2 so the peak inverse voltage for the diodes must be twice the peak voltage on either half of the secondary of the transformer.

Bridge Rectifier

This is also a single phase full wave rectifier, and has advantages over the previous circuit in that the transformer does not need to produce twice the voltage required and the secondary is in use all the time. Unlike the previous circuit where only half the secondary winding was used at anyone time.

Figure 19 shows a bridge rectifier. Assume the top of the secondary winding of the transformer to be positive (positive half cycle), trace the curren t flow through the load using the arrows shown.

13 -

L

Fig. 19 BRIDGE RECTIFIER - FIRST HALF CYCLE

L

Fig. 20 BRIDGE RECTIFIER - SECOND HALF CYCLE

On the next half cycle (figure 20) assume the bottom of the secondary is positive and trace the circuit through the load following the arrows. Note the direction of current through the load is the same during each half

cycle, ie it is dc.

Note that in this circuit the two non-conducting diodes have twice the supply voltage across them, (load/ supply voltage + supply voltage = twice supply voltage). However, this voltage is shared between the two nonconducting diodes in series, therefore the peak inverse voltage per diode is the supply voltage. As before the ripple frequency is twice the supply

frequency.

Typically all four diodes are available in one package.

-I

Three Phase Half Wave Rectification

In order to obtain three-phase half wave rectification a diode must be inserted into each of the supply lines to the load and the return from the load to the supply MUST be to the star point of the three-phase system.

Therefore this form of rectification can only be used where there is a star connection using a neutral line. Assume this star connection is the secondary of a three phase (DELTA-STAR) transformer as shown in figure 21.

Figure 22 shows the waveform of the three-phase supply and the resultant supply voltage to the load.

III

LOAD r

0--------'

Fig. 21 DELTA STAR TRANSFORMER

OUTPUT VOLTAGE (LOAD)

V(lLTAl,E

. /

j •• .

./

v,

Fig. 22 WAVEFORMS - THREE PHASE RECTIFIER

Note that the ripple frequency of this rectifier output is three times the supply frequency, with three dc output voltage 'blips' for one sequence of the three-phase ac supply.

l )

Three Phase Full Wave Rectification

This form of connection does not require a neutral line, so can be used on either Star or Delta connected systems. Figure 23 shows the diode circuit diagram.

lOA
LINE A
+
_M_
LINE B LOAD
-26...
LINE C Fig. 23 FULL WAVE RECTIFIER CIRCUIT

The arrows show the time in the three phase cycle when phase A is maximum and passing peak current to the load (say 10 amps). After passing through the load, the current splits into two, of five amps each to return to the B and C lines back to the supply.

The output ripple frequency is six times the supply frequency.

We shall now look at some other uses of diodes,

RESliLTANT WAVEFOI,M

/ TO LOAD

., / erne

/

/.

/

Fig. 24 THREE PHASE FULL WAVE WAVEFORM

- 1

CLIPPING OR LIMITING

As the name implies it is the 'limiting' or 'clipping off of part of the voltage waveform that lies above or below a certain chosen level. This level is called the bias, or reference level. Some examples are shown in

figure 25.

V in

Vout

PROCESS

PULSE SHAPING

A

.~ NOISE REMOVAL
B
---.--~.- .. --.----.~----
C PROVISION OF
CONSTANT
AMPLITUDE
PULSES
REMOVAL OF
EXCESSIVE
EXCURSION
E ~ k REMOVAL OF
UNWANTED
TRIGGER PIP Fig. 25 EXAMPLES OF LIMITING

DIODE

V out

Fig. 26 SERIES NEGATIVE LIMITER

- 1 7

In figure 26, assume the input is a sinewave of (say) +20 to -20 volts. When the diode is conducting (assuming negligible resistance) the voltage across it is negligible and the output voltage (Vour] will be equal to VIN. When the diode is cut off the output voltage is practically zero. The circuit therefore clips the portion of the waveform, which goes negative.

'2:~ .. ; O

VOU! ...: ,

.. . , ..

'.- .....

Fig. 27 WAVEFORM OF SERIES NEGATIVE LIMITER

If the diode was to be turned round we then have a series positive limiter and the diode only conducts on the negative going cycles and so the positive going portion of the input waveform is clipped.

The resistance R must be some value intermediate between the two diode extremes of resistance. This means R is very large compared to the conducting resistance (almost zero ohms) and very small compared with the cut-off resistance (which is almost infinite). A typical value for R in practice will be between 10kD and 100kD. Figure 28 shows a shunt positive limiter with the rhode in shunt (paralleJ) with the component (Vour] and the resistor is in series.

-

~~ __ ~~---@-r------.----~o

V in R V out

DIODE

1

Fig. 28 SHUNT POSITIVE LIMITER

During the positive half cycles, with the diode conducting the voltage developed across it is practically zero, so output voltage is zero. When the diode is cut off on the negative half-cycles, practically the whole of the input voltage is across the diode and therefore VOUT = VIN. This circuit therefore clips the portion of the input waveform, which goes positive.

,: -, . .

. '.

.r! __ ··-V- -- - V-

- 20·.· ...

. . , .

· .

· .

· .

Fig. 29 WAVEFORM OF POSITIVE LIMITER

If we wish to remove the negative cycles of the waveform all that is required us to tum the diode around; the circuit now becomes a shunt negative limiter.

The circuits so far discussed have all 'clipped' or limited the waveform above zero volts. In practice it is often necessary to clip the portion of the waveform above or below some reference voltage other than zero. This can be done using slightly modified versions of the basic limiting circuits already shown.

Figure 30 shows a shunt negative limiter to -lOY.

V in

R

V out

+ 110V(El

Fig. 30 SHUNT NEGATIVE LIMITER

The waveform may be limited to any positive or negative value by holding the appropriate electrode of the diode at the required bias or reference

level.

On one half cycle of the input, the diode is cut off and practically the whole of the input voltage appears as Your. On the other half cycle the diode is cut off until it reaches above the bias level, up to this point

VIN = Your, when the diode conducts the Your is equal to the bias level and clips the negative half cycle as shown in figure 31.

If the polarity of the bias was turned around the other way then the output would be as shown in figure 32.

Fig. 31 WAVEFORM OF SHUNT NEGATIVE LIMITER

Limited 10 + E

<VF

+ E

()~ ... :.

\ c •••••

......... '

7 ....

,

Fig. 32 REVERSE POLARITY WAVEFORM OF SHUNT NEGATIVE LIMITER

If the diodes are turned round then the reverse outputs will occur. The same principle can be applied to series limiters. Figure 33 shows a series positive limiter to -1 OV and figure 34 shows its \vaveform.

v out

R

+ 110V (E)

Fig. 33 SERIES POSITIVE LIMITER

. ~mm·-·T

VinO V· TIME

.............. _ .. --_ - _----_.-._--- -.-

Limited 10 -1 OV

Vout 0 f---\_"\:---+--Ti_/ _T_IM_E_

-E .... :/ .... 1----'"'=

-V A·::............................................ . .

Fig. 34 WAVEFORM OF SERIES POSITIVE LIMITER

If the (1 OV) battery at the bottom of the resistor was reversed then the output waveform would be as shown in figure 35.

+

Yin 0

b L,m"ei ''''OV -:

::to[\=;!;E

Fig. 35 WAVEFORM OF SERIES POSITIVE LIMITER WITH REVERSE POLARITY BATTERY

] ]

Again if the diodes were turned around the reverse outputs will occur.

Figure 36 shows the circuit where the two are combined. This 'combined limiter' can be used to take a 'slice' out of an input waveform, as shown in figure 37.

~-C==~~----r-·---O

V out

Vm

R

+1

Fig. 36. COMBINED LIMITER

.10 V in

Vout

\.

------------- ----------- ----------

Fig. 37 WAVEFORM OF COMBINED LIMITER

In practice, reference or bias levels are not provided by batteries, but by a potentiometer connected across a de supply line.

Clamping

These circuits are widely used in radar and communications equipment to change the reference level of a waveform without reducing its

amplitude. Circuits which move waveforms up or down in this way are known as Clamping Circuits because their effect is to Ex or clamp the top or bottom level of the waveform. Figure 38 shows the difference between a limiter / clipping circuit and a clamping circuit. The limiter circuit simply 'cuts off a part of the waveform, whilst a clamping circuit moves the whole waveform up or down.

LIMITER CIRCUIT

A LIMITER CUTS OFF PART OF THE INPUT WAVE FORM

.101-

1001

-IOV

CLAMPING CIRCUIT

A CLAMPING CIRCUIT PUSHES THE WHOLE WAVEFORM UP OR DOWN

-SOY

HOW A CLAMPING CIRCUIT DIFFERS FROM A LIMITER

Fig. 38 LIMITING/CLAMPING

The simplest form of clamping circuit is a diode circuit that consists of a capacitor and resistor, forming a long CR circuit to the input waveform.

The voltage to which the bottom ends of the resistor or diode are returned is again known as the bias or reference level. It may be of either polarity including zero volts.

Fig. 39 CLAMPING CIRCUIT

The circuit is clamped to this bias level. In the previous drawing the output waveform is clamped to zero volts. The two types of clamping circuits are:

1. Positive clamping - the bottom of the output waveform is clamped to the bias voltage, so the output waveform is positive to the bias

level.

2. Negative clamping - the top of the waveform is clamped to the bias voltage, so the output waveform is negative to the bias level.

Figure 40 shows a circuit with positive clamping to zero volts and figure 41 shows the waveforms.

Fig. 40 POSITIVE CLAMPING CIRCUIT

INPUT Vin

o

o

+100V

D.·.· : ... MEAN

J L +50V

CLAMPING LEVEL / .

OUTPUT VR

o

Fig. 41 WAVEFORM - POSITIVE CLAMPING

With reference to figure 40, since R and the diode are in parallel the output voltage always equals the voltage developed across R. In any CR circuit the input voltage VIN = Vc+ VR at all times.

The description of the waveforms (figure 41) is as follows:

A to 8

8 to C

C to 0

D to E

E to F

The input rises to lOOv from zero. The capacitor is initially uncharged and cannot charge immediately. VR therefore rises instantly to lOOv and since this voltage is applied to the cathode of the diode, the diode is cut-off.

With the diode cut-off, C charges on a long time constant CR seconds and V c (voltage across the capacitor) rises by a small amount. Thus VR falls by the same amount.

The input falls by lOOv to zero and since Vc cannot change immediately V R also falls to lOOv to a small negative potential which causes the diode to conduct.

With the diode conducting, C discharges on a short time constant CRo seconds. Ro is diode resistance. Both Vc and VR quickly return to zero volts and the diode is cut off.

The input rises again by lOOv and the cycle is repeated.

Except for small negative 'pips' the output VR is clamped to a base level of zero volts and is positive going from this level.

A similar action takes place with a negative going square wave.

Figure 42 shows a negative clamping circuit and figure 43 shows the waveforms.

Fig. 42 NEGATIVE CLAMPING CIRCUIT TO ZERO VOLTS

+100V JB

Vin

OV _ A

V C '100VJ. -------__,/

OV ,

+100V ~

OV_j\_

-100V

VR (Vout)

Fig. 43 WAVEFORM OF NEGATIVE CLAMPING CIRCUIT TO ZERO VOLTS

Assuming a square wave of OV and + lOOV (figure 43).

Prior to A - the capacitor is initially uncharged and since VIN equals zero volts, VOUT equals zero volts.

A to B The input voltage rises from zero, and since C cannot change its state of charge instantaneously, the rise

appears in full across R (V OUT). Since V R is the same as the voltage across the diode the diode conducts.

B to C Capacitor C and the conducting diode form a short CR circuit and so the capacitor quickly charges to + lOOv. VOUT

falls to zero volts.

C to 0 VIN changes instantaneously from + lOOv to zero volts and this step appears in full across R. Thus VR becomes immediately -lOOv, the diode is non-conducting and Vc is

unchanged.

D to E The circuit is now a long CR and C discharges slowly, VR rises slowly towards zero volts. (In a very long CR circuit the change of 0 to E is only a very small proportion of the

input waveform amplitude).

E to F YIN instantly becomes lOOv again, and this rise causes YR jump from -98v (say) to +2v, which causes the diode to

conduct.

After F C quickly charges back to + lOOv on the short CR circuit and the process repeats itself.

Thus after the initial spike is over, the waveform VOUT is a very slightly distorted version of the input waveform, but negatively clamped to zero volts.

In the examples shown the output waveform is clamped to either positively or negatively to zero volts. If it was necessary, as in some radar circuits, to clamp to a level other than zero, then the bias voltage is placed in the resistor rectifier line as shown in figures 44, 46 and 48. The waveforms produced are shown respectively in figures 45,47 and 49.

+100v

.......• M"~J:l +5Ov

..__-o

Clamping level

Fig. 45 WAVEFORM OF NEGATIVE CLAMPING TO NEGATIVE BIAS

Fig. 46 POSITIVE CLAMPING TO POSITIVE BIAS

- 27 -

Mean

+.~ ...

-,---·0

+lSOv

/+SOv

Clamping level

Fig. 47 WAVEFORM OF POSITIVE CLAMPING TO POSITIVE BIAS

Fig. 48 POSITn/"; ":':LAMPING TO NEGATIVE BIAS

+ 100v

+7Ov

1-3Ov

Clamping level

Fig. 49 WAVEFORM OF POSITIVE CLAMPING TO NEGATIVE BIAS

VOLTAGE DOUBLER

Another application of a diode is in a voltage doubler circuit, which is typically used in a High Energy Ignition Unit, (HEIU). Figure 50 shows the basic principle of a voltage doubler circuit.

} ()

. ..:..0 .

+

01

02 (:J C,

output~2VM

Fig. 50 VOLTAGE DOUBLING CIRCUIT - 1

On one half cycle of the supply capacitor C1 will charge up to V volts, on the other half cycle C2 will charge up to V volts. As the two capacitors are in series then the output is approximately 2V volts. Figure 51 shows an ethel type of \ 01 tag.:: douolir.g circuit.

V D4

-~~~-- __ --~----o + r---1,+

C,

7'\ C. 03 ~

ac "-.J input

2V ..

Fig. 51 VOLTAGE DOUBLING CIRCUIT - 2

With reference to figure 51, C3 is charged to V volts during the negative half cycle of the supply voltage. The potential between C3 now acts as a battery in series with the supply. In the positive half cycle of the supply, C4 is charged to a voltage equal to the surrt of the peak supply voltage and the voltage across C3, ie approximately 2V.

By connecting the output of one multiplying circuit onto the input of the next (cascading) the de voltage output can be four times the ac input.

- 29 -

FLY WHEEL DIODE

Sometimes a diode is connected across a relay coil. When the supply is switched off the collapse of current causes a self-induced emf in the coil which by Lenz's Law tries to keep the current flowing and may cause arcing across the control switch contacts. The diode allows a path for the dissipation of this voltage and prevents this possible arcing. This may also be called a free-wheel diode.

CONTROL SWITCH

o ~

~~ ~ ~~ RELAYSUPPLY

o

RELAY COIL---~

PATH FOR INDUCTIVE ---CURRENT PROVIDED BY

DIODE

"tESTlNG OF DIODES

if is essential the diCid;:~ l;:, connected the correct way round in a cir cuit.. so a coloured bana or spot usually marks the cathode (k) end.

Fig. 53 TESTING OF DIODES

- 30 -

If it is necessary to verify the connections in the absence of any marking then a test meter is used. Using the old AVO-meter it should be remembered, as with any ohmmeter, that the BLACK (NEGATIVE) terminal becomes the positive output and RED (POSITIVE) terminal is the negative. When a 'FLUKE' is used it has a switch selection to test diodes.

The meter displays the forward voltage drop (VF) up to 2 volts and beeps briefly for one diode drop (VF < O.7v) for the forward bias test. For reverse bias or open circuit the meter displays OL, and if there is a short circuit the meter emits a continuous tone.

Now to look at other types of diode.

ZENER DIODE

You will remember that, with a P-N diode under reverse bias conditions, the only current flowing is due to the minority carriers passing across the depletion layer.

+ 1 rn/,

Forward bias -~

Reve. SE bias

....... _--

~;

;,~

Zener point -v v.

--tV

-1

Fig. 54 GRAPH OF REVERSE BIAS

As can be seen from the graph if the reverse bias is increased, there is little effect onthe flow at the minority carriers, if the reverse bias is continually increased the point of breakdown is reached and the current increases rapidly. In the rectifier diodes discussed so far we make sure we do notgetanywhere near this value of reverse voltage because the diode would be destroyed. However, the zener diode makes useof this breakdown or avalanche condition.

Just to look at the breakdown mechanism in a little more detail. As the reverse bias increases the acceleration of the electrons increases and they dislodge other electrons as they collide with the atoms.

- 31 -

More electrons are now created to cause more collisions and so on, and a situation is reached which is uncontrollable (avalanche) and the diode is destroyed. However, if a resistor of a suitable value is placed in series with the diode the current can be limited which ensures no overheating and does not cause damage to the diode.

The zener diode is always connected in REVERSE BIAS, ie cathode to positive, anode to negative. At the required breakdown voltage, determined by the doping levels the zener will breakdown, but if the reverse voltage is reduced then the zener will again become a blocking diode.

If you look at the graph again you will see that the Voltage across the diode remains virtually constant at the breakdown voltage value even though the current through it can increase. The zener is therefore a CONSTANT VOLTAGE, VARIABLE CURRENT device. They are made in a wide range of breakdown voltages 2 - 200v being a typical and also a wide range of power ratings from half a watt to many watts. The zener diode symbol is shown in figure 55.

~J -OR -~--

Fig. 55 ZENER DIODE SYMBOL

The zener diode can be used as a voltage stabilizer, ie to keep the voltage constant across a circuit irrespective of load current or supply voltage variations. With reference to figure 56:

(a) If the load current IL increases, the zener current decreases by the amount, ifh, decreases then the zener current increases by the same amount thus maintaining a constant voltage across the load at all times.

-

(b) If the supply voltage should increase, then the current

through the zener increases while the increase in voltage appears across RD not across the zener. The zener voltage remains at breakdown value irrespective of the increase in current through it. If the input voltage falls, zener current decreases and the voltage across RD falls, but again the voltage across the zener and the load remains constant.

'<eacur,ed Supplv

t

zener Vz

Fig. 56 VOLTAGE ST ABILISER CIRCUIT

The property of the zener means it can also be used as a reverse voltage switch, ie it can be arranged to breakdown at a certain reverse voltage to activate a switch, as used in aircraft transistorized regulators and protection systems.

SILICON CONTROLLED RECTIFIER (THYRISTOR)

The SCR is a P-N-P-N semiconductor switching device, which has three terminals ANODE, CATHODE and GATE.

Fig. 57 SCR SYMBOL & CONSTRUCTION

An explanation of the operation of the SCR can be carried out using the two-transistor analogy. For this you should refer to Book 2 in this series. You may wish to do that now and come back to this section.

- 33 -

if tile two centre regions of llll~ t:CE 8.' t: regarded as being split dmgoQc',ll: as shown in figure 58 it becomes two mterconnected transistors TR 1 and TR2. TRI is a PNP transistor a.nrl TR2 is an NPN transistor With the anode positive to the cathode, the base collector junctions' (J2) are reverse biased and apart from a sm~Jlleakage current no current flows.

If a pulse of current is injected into the gate terminal this turns TR2 on, this base current produces a larger collector current in TR2 which also forms the conduction path for the base current of TR 1, whicn increases its collector current and forms the base current ofTR2. The SCR is now self-sustaining and the gate supply can be removed. Typically a few microseconds of a small current applied to the gate will turn the SCR

'ON'.

The device will remain in its conducting state until:

1 The device is reverse biased, ie positive to cathode, negative to anode.

2 The supply is removed.

3 The voltage across the device is reduced so that the current falls below its "holding value" (see characteristic).

~ 34 -

:I •. _,

.;,. .if'!

.~:

-,

PRINCIPAL CURRENT (FORWARD) (I A)

FORWARD CONDUCTIVE REGION

BREAKOVER b VOLTAGES

c

HOLDING a

CURRENT --1---' .... ,::::::::::::: ..

VA~EVER~S~E~:=========== __ t-~~~~~~==~~~

- PRINCIPAL

VOLTAGE (FORWARD) (VAK)

REVERSE BREAKDOWN REGION

RUNNING VOLTAGE (TYPICALLY 1 VOLT)

I A REVERSE

Fig. 59 GRAPH OF SCR CHARACTERISTICS

Figure 59 shows a graph of the characteristics for an SCR for different values of gate voltage. The points a, band c represent values at which the junction reverse bias is overcome and the SCR conducts, known as 'breakover'. 'a' represents the highest voltage and 'c' the lowest gate voltage. Once the SCR is conducting the voltage across it is typically 1 volt.

The SCR can be made to carry a wide range of currents from lA to lOOOA. Figure 60 shows different types of SCR.

HIGH CURRENT (AOA)

MEDIUM CURRENT (25A) Fig. 60 SCRs

LOW CURRENT (1A)

.. 33 -

In aircraft systems, the SCR would be typically used in firewire control, windscreen-heating control, etc. In windscreen heat control, the SCR can be gated at the beginning or at any point through out the half cycle. The earlier it is gated then more current will flow to the windscreen, the

later it is gated then less current will flow.

AC INPUT 0 f--_J_-\--I---\-----+---\----f-.~ -- TIME

(V)

GATE + & I I _1 _ _l __ TIME
PULSES
(rnA) 0
!
DC + & ~ ~- ~ lLTIME
OUTPUT
(V) 0 Fig. 61 GRAPHS OF SCR INPUTS & OUTPUTS

The basic SCR, when fed with ac, will switch off after one half cycle as the other half cycle will reverse bias the SCR, So it only allows half

power through.

A TRIAC consists of two SCR's connected in parallel but in opposition and controlled by the same gate. It is triggered on both half cycles and therefore one conducts on one half cycle and the other one conducts on the other half cycle. Figure 62 shows the symbol.

MT2

G~

MT1

Fig. 62 TRIAC SYMBOL

The TRIAC is therefore used in windscreen heat control and domestically as a lamp dimmer or motor speed control for an electric drill.

- 36 -

LIGHT EMITTING DIODE (LED)

An LED consists of a junction diode made from the semiconductor compound gallium arsenide phosphide. It emits light when forward biased, the colour of the light emitted is in direct proportion to the current flow. Light emission in the red, orange, green and yellow regions of the spectrum is obtained depending on the composition and impurity content of the compound.

LENS

FLAT

ANODW CATHO~

COLOURED TRANSLUCENT PLASTIC CASE

CATHODE ANODE LEADS

Fig. 63 LIGHT EMITTING DIODE

When a P- N junction is {Of ward biased electrons move across the junction from the N-type side to the P-type side where they recombine with holes near the junction. The same occurs with holes going across the junction from the P-type side. Every recombination results in the release of a certain amount of energy, causing, in most semiconductors, a temperature rise. In gallium arsenide phosphide some of the energy is emitted as light that gets out of the LED because the junction is formed very close to the surface of the material.

In applying this to aircraft displays either the 7 segment or dot matrix configurations may be used.

In the 7 segment display for numerical indication as shown in figure 64, each segment is an LED mounted within a reflective cavity with a plastic overlay.

LED SEGMENT
ANODE f 1 14 ANODE a 1 - 1 1 - 1 - 1 1 1
ANODEg 2 13 ANODE b - -
COMMON 1 1 "= 1 1
CATHODE - -
COMMON 1 - 1- - 1 1 - II -
CATHODE - - - 1
ANODE I I I I I I I
DECIMAL - - - -
ANODE e POINT
ANODE d ANODE c TYPICAL PIN CONNECTIONS COMMON CATHODE, SEGMENT LED DISPLAY

Fig. 64 SEVEN SEGMENT LED DISPLAY

- 37 -

When used on with an ac supply should be protected against reverse breakdown, this can be done with a conventional diode connected in shunt across the LED. On reverse voltage the diode will conduct at about OAv protecting the LED which would breakdown at about 3-11

volt reverse voltage.

SHOTTKY DIODE

This diode is a rectifying metal to semiconductor junction. Several metals may be used, including gold and aluminum, which are fused directly to a semiconductor material.

Since the mobility of electrons is greater than holes an N-type semiconductor is used. Current flow in this diode differs from current flow in conventional P-N junction diodes in that the minority carriers do not take any part in the process. The diode has very low capacitance and high switching speeds, produces less noise and has a smaller forward conducting voltage (0.2 to OAv) then conventional P-N diodes.

Fig. 65 SCHOTTKY DIODE SYMBOL

The basic construction, as already mentioned, is a piece of aluminum fused to an N type semiconductor. Some of the aluminum atoms diffuse into the silicon because aluminum has a valency of 3. This makes a very small P region. The current carrier is almost 100% electrons due to free electrons in the N type semiconductor and the metal.

The shottky diode is used in the making of logic gates as the switching time is high.

- 38 -

VARACTOR DIODE

Under reverse bias conditions, a junction diode can be regarded as a parallel plate capacitor having two plates (the P and N regions) that are

separated by a dielectric (depletion layer). The capacitance will vary according to the area and width of the depletion layer. The narrow depletion layer gives a higher capacitance than a wider depletion layer.

Fig. 66 SYMBOL - V ARACTOR DIODE

If this reverse bias can be varied then we have a variable capacitor typically between 2-1 Opf. These diodes are used to tune TV and VHF radio sets in special circuits, which allow the set to lock on to the desired station automatically. Figure 66 shows the symbol for the varactor [varicap) diode.

VARISTOR

The metal oxide varistor (MOV) is a semiconductor resistor made of zinc oxide semiconductor crystals. When the 'voltage across this specialised resistor becomes two high, the resistor breaks down and becomes a conductor. The action of the varistor can be compared to a pair of zener diodes wired back to back in series.

-I

+1

POSITIVE BREAKDOWN

----...

_~-2~O~OV======~==-10 __ -=:=~==~~;--

-v +V

+200V

<,

NEGATIVE BREAKDOWN

Fig. 67 TYPICAL MOV VOLT -AMPERE CHARACTERISTIC GRAPH

- 39 -

They are used for transient voltage suppression, voltage stabilisation and switch contact protection.

Figure 68 shows the symbol used in drawings and figure 69 shows how a varister reduces noise spikes in an ac voltage.

Fig. 68 MOV SYMBOL

+ V'I V:C"
BREAKDOWN
VClLTAGE ._./
t t
- .. -
,
I
I /'-""-
_I flRE.~KDOWI'l
Y')LTAGE
v TO RECTIFIER. F"ILTER AND

Fig. 69 VARISTOR NOISE SPIKE CLIPPING ACTION

The varistor is connected across the secondary of the transformer and at normal voltage has a very high resistance and takes a very small current. However when the voltage spikes exceed the breakdown voltage, it conducts and clips off the noise spikes. The varistor switches extremely fast, unlike zener diodes that are slow switching. The principle described here could also be used for switch contact protection.

PHOTO CONDUCTIVE DIODE

The photodiode is a P-N junction that is reversed biased in normal operation. Its case has a transparent window through which light can

enter.

- 40 -

As it operates in reverse bias there will be leakage current (minority carriers) which increases in proportion to the amount of light falling on the junction. The light energy breaks the bonding in the crystal lattice of the semiconductor and produces electrons and holes to increase the leakage current. Figure 70 shows the drawing symbol and figure 71 shows the characteristics of the photodiode.

Fig. 70 SYMBOL - PHOTO CONDUCTIVE DIODE

FORWARD BIASED DIODE QUADRANT OR PHOTOCONDUCTIVE QUADRANT

ANOfE r:URRENT (+)

increasing illumination

ANODE VOLT AGE (-)

ANODE VOLTAGE (+)

zero illumination

A

increasing illumination

PHOTODIODE QUADRANT

ANODE CURRENT (-)

Fig. 71 CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PHOTODIODE

Typically silicon diodes are used, as their leakage current with no light (dark current) is much lower than germanium. The sensitivity lies between_lOrnA/1m to about SOmA/1m (1m = lumen which is the amount of light emitted from a light source 1 candela strong) and the spectral response covers the visible to the infrared range. Photodiodes used with laser systems can operate at very high frequencies. They are very fast operating and are used in laser gyros and as an optical receiver for laser svsterns.

""""""""""

- 41 -

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