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Silicon

Silicon

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Published by Anna Hazare

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Published by: Anna Hazare on Aug 24, 2011
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08/24/2011

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Silicon

y The construction of a silicon diode starts with purified silicon. Each side of the diode is implanted with impurities (boron on the anode side, arsenic or phosphorus on the cathode side), and the joint where the impurities meet is called the "p-n junction." Silicon diodes have a forward-bias voltage of 0.7 Volts. Once the voltage differential between the anode and the cathode reaches 0.7 Volts, the diode will begin to conduct electrical current across its p-n junction. When the voltage differential drops to less than 0.7 Volts, the p-n junction will stop conducting electrical current, and the diode will cease to function as an electrical pathway. Because silicon is relatively easy and inexpensive to obtain and process, silicon diodes are more prevalent than germanium diodes.

Germanium
y Germanium diodes are manufactured in a manner similar to silicon diodes. Germanium diodes also utilize a p-n junction and are implanted with the same impurities that silicon diodes are implanted with. Germanium diodes, however, have a forwardbias voltage of 0.3 Volts. Germanium is a rare material that is typically found with copper, lead or silver deposits. Because of its rarity, germanium is more expensive to work with, thus making germanium diodes more difficult to find (and sometimes more expensive) than silicon diode

Comparison between Silicon and Germanium diodes
Silicon 1. 2. 3. 4. The silicon diodes have higher PIV (peak 1000V PIV around 400V. Si diodes have wider operating range Higher cut-off voltage (0.7V) Lower saturation current Germanium 1. The Ge diodes have lower PIV with maximum inverse voltage)with max as 2. The Ge diodes have small operating range. 3. Lower cut-off voltage (0.3 V) 4. Higher saturation current

The above points would also make it clear why the silicon diodes are better than germanium diodes.

REVERSE SATURATION CURRENT: The Ge diode is more temperature dependent than Si diode. The value of ni2 for Ge diode is more that of Si diode. Hence there would be more number of minority carriers and hence reverse saturation current is larger in germanium diode

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