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PAGE 1 • FEBRUARY 2009 WWW.MPDIGEST.

COM FEATURE ARTICLE
Introduction
S
chottky diodes have been
used for several decades
as the key elements in fre-
quency mixer and RF power
detector circuits. In 1938 Walter
Schottky, the son of German
mathematician Friedrich
Schottky, explained the manner
in which a junction comprised
of specific combinations of met-
als and a doped semiconduc-
tor material can rectify. The
Schottky diode is the result of
this work.
The Schottky Junction
The Schottky diode junction is
formed by plating a very pure
metal, typically by evapora-
tion or sputtering while under
vacuum, onto a wafer that has
been doped with either p-type
or n-type dopant atoms. As
soon as these materials are
brought into contact and ther-
mal equilibrium is established,
their Fermi levels become equal.
Electrons from the semiconduc-
tor lower their energy level by
flowing into the metal. Charge
accumulates at the interface,
distorting the energy bands in
the semiconductor. This cre-
ates an energy barrier, known
as the Schottky barrier, which
prevents more electrons from
flowing from the n-type mate-
rial into the metal without assis-
tance from an external energy
source of the correct polarity to
elevate their energy above that
of the Schottky barrier height.
External energy of the opposite
polarity increases the barrier
height, thus preventing conduc-
tion.
When metal is brought into
contact with an n-type semi-
conductor during fabrication of
the chip, electrons diffuse out
of the semiconductor into the
metal, leaving a region known
as the “depletion layer” under
the contact that has no free
electrons. This region contains
donor atoms that are positively
charged because each lost its
excess electron. This charge
makes the semiconductor posi-
tive with respect to the metal.
Diffusion continues until the
semiconductor is so positive
with respect to the metal that
no more electrons can go into
the metal. The internal voltage
difference between the metal
and the semiconductor is called
the contact potential, and is
usually in the range 0.3 – 0.8 V
for typical Schottky diodes.
When a positive voltage is
applied to the metal, the inter-
nal voltage is reduced, and elec-
trons can flow into the metal.
Only those electrons whose
thermal energy happens to be
many times the average can
escape, and these “hot electrons”
account for all the forward cur-
rent from the semiconductor
into the metal. One important
thing to note is that there is no
flow of minority carriers from
the metal into the semiconduc-
tor and thus no neutral plasma
of holes and electrons is formed.
Therefore, if the forward volt-
age is removed, current stops
within a few picoseconds and
reverse voltage can be estab-
lished in this time. There is no
delay effect due to charge stor-
age as in junction diodes. This
accounts for the predominant
use of surface barrier diodes in
microwave mixers, where the
diode must switch conductance
states at the rate of the fre-
quency of a microwave local
oscillator. The voltage-current
relationship for a barrier diode
is described by the law of the
junction equation. The deriva-
tion is given in many text books
(for example, Maas). Some
examples of current vs. volt-
age curves for Schottky diodes
of various barrier heights are
shown In Figure 1.
Schottky diodes have been
commercially available for sev-
eral decades. Silicon Schottky
diodes can be produced with
several different barrier heights,
as shown in the table below, but
for practical reasons four main
barrier heights are offered: high
barrier, medium barrier, low
barrier and “zero bias detec-
tor (ZBD)” barrier. The first
three of these types are typi-
cally made with n-type Si and
the appropriate metal; ZBD
diodes generally are made with
p-type semiconductor materi-
al. Gallium Arsenide (GaAs)
Schottky diodes are fabricated
with n-type doping only.
The equation that relates the
current through a Schottky junc-
tion to the voltage across it is:
where
K = Boltzmann’s constant,
1.38044 X10
-23
J/K
q = electronic charge,
1.60206X10
-19
C
T = Temperature, K
R
S
= series resistance, Ω
I
SAT
= saturation current, A
n = ideality factor
(typically 1.0)
and
where
A = Area, cm
2
A** = Modified Richardson
constant, (A/K)
2
/cm
2
K = Boltzmann’s Constant
T = absolute temperature, K
Φ
B
= barrier height, V
Barrier height is a design
variable for a Schottky diode,
whereas it is fixed for a pn
junction. This is another
advantage of a Schottky junc-
tion relative to a pn junction: a
Schottky junction can have sig-
nificantly lower forward volt-
age at a given forward current
than a comparable pn junction.
A Schottky diode is a virtu-
ally ideal rectifier whose for-
ward voltage can be selected by
design. This makes Schottky
diodes very well-suited for use
as power detectors, especially
at very low signal levels, and as
the switching elements in com-
mutating mixers.
Junction Capacitance
The depletion region of the
Schottky diode is an insulator
that separates two conductive
regions (the metal layer and the
doped semiconductor layer), so
it constitutes a parallel-plate
capacitor. The capacitance
of this region is determined
by the physical dimensions of
the junction as well as the
doping profile of the semicon-
ductor layer. The thickness
of the depletion layer can be
affected by the magnitude of
an externally-applied voltage:
a forward bias will reduce the
thickness of the depletion layer,
effectively moving the plates
of the capacitor closer togeth-
er; and, a reverse bias volt-
age increases the thickness of
the depletion layer, effectively
Schottky Diodes
by Rick Cory, Skyworks Solutions, Inc.
Figure 1: Current vs. Forward Voltage Curves for Silicon
Schottky Diodes with High, Medium, Low and “ZBD”
Barrier Heights
PAGE 2 • FEBRUARY 2009 WWW.MPDIGEST.COM FEATURE ARTICLE
spreading the parallel plates
farther apart. The relationship
between reverse bias voltage
and diode capacitance is
where
C
J
(V
R
)= junction capacitance
at reverse bias voltage
V
R
V
R
= reverse bias voltage
from external voltage
source
C
J
(0) = junction capacitance
with V
R
= 0 V
VI = internal contact
potential = Φ
B
-0.15
for n-type silicon
k = Boltzmann’s constant
T = absolute temperature
q = charge of an electron
Series Resistance
The series resistance of a
Schottky diode is the sum of
the resistance due to the epi
layer and the resistance due to
the substrate. The resistance of
the epi is given by the following
equation:
where
L = thickness of epi in cm
µ
N
= mobility of electrons
for n-type Si (for p-type
silicon the mobility of
holes would be used)
N
d
= doping density of the
epi layer in atoms/cm
3
A = area of Schottky
contact in cm
2
The resistance of the sub-
strate is given by the following
equation:
R
sub
= 2* ρ
S
* (A/π)
1/2
where
A = area of Schottky
contact in cm
2
ρ
S
= substrate resistivity in
Ω-cm
Mixer Diodes Compared To
Detector Diodes
In radio receivers mixers are
designed to convert radio
frequency (RF) energy to an
intermediate frequency (IF) as
efficiently as possible. The
reason for doing this is that
very selective filters at the RF
frequency are expensive, so the
signal is converted to a lower
frequency where good selectiv-
ity can be more easily achieved
and where amplification can be
accomplished with less expen-
sive amplifiers.
The frequency conversion is
obtained by operating a diode
with fast response and high cut-
off frequency as a switch, turn-
ing it on and off at a rate deter-
mined by the signal frequency
of a local oscillator (LO). This
commutating action produces
signals at two new frequen-
cies: the sum of the RF and LO
frequencies and the difference
of these two frequencies. The
desired output frequency for
downconverter applications is
the difference frequency. A good
mixer diode with a high cutoff
frequency will be capable of low
conversion loss (L
C
). This, com-
bined with a low noise figure
in the IF amplifier, will result
in a low overall receiver noise
figure, unless the diode itself
generates noise (other than nor-
mal thermal noise). Ideally, the
mixer diode should accomplish
this conversion with a minimum
of LO power and no need for an
external DC bias source.
Detector diodes are designed
to rectify very low levels of
RF power to produce a DC
output voltage proportional to
the RF input power. The diode
may be operated at a small DC
bias (typically 50 μA) which
results in a relatively high RF
impedance (typically 600 Ω).
Very low diode capacitance is
required to achieve high sensi-
tivity. Since the detected output
can be at a very low level, the
low frequency (audio) excess
noise (1/f noise) is an impor-
tant consideration.
Schottky Diode Circuits
Mixer Circuits
There are many different cir-
cuits utilized for frequency
conversion. These circuits may
comprise one or more
Schottky diodes, and
in some cases, trans-
formers, to achieve
frequency conver-
sion. A local oscilla-
tor signal drives the
diodes into and out
of conduction at the
rate of the LO fre-
quency, while the RF
signal is also pres-
ent. Some examples
of these circuits are
shown below.
Single-Ended Mixer
A single-ended
mixer consists of a
Schottky diode and
passive components
utilized as filters.
This configuration
has the advantage
that it contains few
components. The
disadvantages of this
circuit are that isola-
tion between the RF
source, the LO source and the
IF output depends on the per-
formance of the filters.
Singly-Balanced Mixer
A singly-balanced mixer is typ-
ically composed of a pair of
Schottky diodes driven by a
180 hybrid coupler. The IF
output is obtained through a
low pass filter. This circuit
offers better interport isolation
and noise performance than
a single-ended mixer, at the
minor cost of a couple more
components. Schottky diodes
connected as shown in the cir-
cuit below are available in sin-
gle packages and as monolithic
chips. This diode configuration
is known as a series tee.
Figure 2: Single-ended mixer
Figure 3: Singly-balanced Mixer Utilizing a Series Tee Pair
of Schottky Diodes
Figure 4: Doubly-Balanced Schottky
Mixer
Figure 5: Subharmonic Mixer
PAGE 3 • FEBRUARY 2009 WWW.MPDIGEST.COM FEATURE ARTICLE
Doubly-Balanced Mixer
The doubly-balanced mixer
is comprised of four Schottky
diodes, connected anode-to-
cathode in a ring, and a pair
of transformers. This configu-
ration offers very good inter-
port isolation and low conver-
sion loss. Monolithic Schottky
diode ring quads are available
in several package styles and
as chips.
This mixer configuration
offers very good interport iso-
lation and conversion loss.
Subharmonic Mixer
The subharmonic mixer utilizes
the nonlinear impedance of an
antiparallel pair of Schottky
diodes in two different ways: it
uses the diodes as a commutat-
ing switch and also as a har-
monic generator. Harmonics
of the local oscillator signal are
generated by the diodes. These
harmonics are mixed with
the RF signal as well. This
arrangement allows a local
oscillator of lower frequency
to produce an IF signal with a
very high frequency RF signal
-- thus allowing less expensive,
low frequency local oscillator
circuits to be utilized to down
convert millimeter wave sig-
nals. The subharmonic mixer
is a single-ended mixer, so its
interport isolation also depends
upon the performance of the
filters in the circuit.
Mixer Diode Barrier Height
The barrier height of the
Schottky mixer diode deter-
mines the amount of LO power
required, as well as the mixer’s
nonideal performance char-
acteristics such as intermodu-
lation distortion. Generally
speaking, the higher the diode
barrier height, the greater the
required LO signal amplitude
and the lower the intermodula-
tion distortion products will
be. Also, the greater the num-
ber of Schottky diodes in the
mixer circuit, the greater the
LO power must be for proper
operation. Mixer diodes are
available with low, medium
and high barriers. Examples
of series tee diodes of vari-
ous barrier heights available
from Skyworks are listed in the
Table 1.
Detector Circuits
Schottky diode detector circuits
are basically simple rectifier
circuits which produce a low
frequency (nominally DC) out-
put current or voltage which
is proportional in magnitude
to the magnitude of the RF
input signal. Detector circuits
are often used to monitor the
output level of a power ampli-
fier in a radio transmitter, or
they can simply indicate the
presence or absence of an RF
signal.
The simplest RF detector cir-
cuit is shown in Figure 6.
In this circuit the Schottky
detector diode rectifies the
input RF signal and charges
the output filter’s capacitor to a
voltage that is proportional to
the input signal amplitude.
The transfer function of
this circuit is composed of
two regions: the square law
detection region and the linear
detection region. An example
of the Schottky detector diode
transfer function is shown in
Figure 7.
In this example, the Schottky
response transitions from
square law to linear detection
when the input signal level is
approximately -20 dBm. The
level at which this transition
occurs is proportional to the
barrier height of the diode.
The curve shown here is for
a so-called “zero bias diode
(ZBD)” detector diode, which
has the lowest available barrier
height for Si Schottky diodes.
This diode is the most sensitive
detector, due to its very low
forward voltage.
The appellation “ZBD” can
cause confusion; any Schottky
diode can be used as a detec-
tor without requiring an exter-
nal bias source. However, the
higher the barrier height the
less sensitive the diode is to
very small signals. If the diode
Beam-Lead Series Pairs, N-Type, Low, Medium, High Drive
Freq.
Band
Cj OV, 1
MHz (pF)
Rs 5
mA
(Ω)
Vb
10 uA
(V)
Vf
1 mA
(mV)
Drive
Level
Beam Lead Epoxy Package
Hermetic
Package
Min Max Max Min Min Max 504-012 252 232 222
S 0.30 0.50 5
2 200 260 Low DMF2835-000 DMF2835-252 DMF2835-222
3 300 400 Med DME2050-000 DME2050-252 DME2050-222
4 500 600 High DMJ2092-000 DMJ2092-252 DMJ2092-222
X 0.15 0.30 8
2 250 310 Low DMF2826-000 DMF2826-252 DMF2826-222
3 325 425 Med DME2829-000 DME2829-252 DME2829-222
4 550 650 High DMJ2093-000 DMJ2093-252 DMJ2093-222
KU 0.05 0.15 13
2 260 330 Low DMF2827-000 DMF2827-252 DMF2827-232 DMF2827-222
3 350 450 Med DME2830-000 DME2830-252 DME2830-232 DME2830-222
4 500 680 High DMJ2832-000 DMJ2832-252 DMJ2832-232 DMJ2832-222
K - 0.10 18
2 270 350 Low DMF2828-000 DMF2828-232 DMF2828-222
3 375 550 Med DME2831-000 DME2831-232 DME2831-222
4 600 700 High DMJ2833-000 DMJ2833-232 DMJ2833-222
Table 1: Series Pair Mixer Diodes
Figure 6: Single Schottky Diode Detector
PAGE 4 • FEBRUARY 2008 WWW.MPDIGEST.COM FEATURE ARTICLE
is slightly forward biased with
an external current source,
sensitivity to small signals can
be improved. The ZBD was
developed to eliminate the need
to use an external bias source
in a very sensitive detector, thus
the nomenclature “ZBD.”
Diode Configurations and
Packaging
Modern RF and microwave
systems often must be manu-
factured at low cost without
compromising performance.
Schottky diodes in surface
mount packages have prolif-
erated as a result. Many of
these packages, such as those
from the JEDEC SOD and SOT
families, offer a reasonably
good combination of low cost
and RF performance, in some
cases for signal frequency as
high as 10 GHz. Examples of
such diodes are the SMS1546,
SMS7621 and SMS7630 fam-
ily of detector diodes, which
are available in the SOT-23,
SOT-143, SOD-323, SC-70
and SC-79 packages, as well
as a very small land grid array
package. Examples of mixer
diodes in surface mount plas-
tic packages include SMS3922,
SMS3923 and SMS3924 fami-
lies, also available in the pack-
ages listed above, as well as in
the SC-88 package.
These packages facilitate the
assembly of the diode to a
printed circuit board, afford
some protection to the die
from ambient conditions such
as humidity, and also facilitate
the assembly of diode arrays,
such as series pairs, for use in
circuits that require more than
one diode for proper opera-
tion. These advantages do not
come without a cost; the inter-
nal bond wires that are utilized
to make connections, as well as
the lead frames or other inter-
nal metal conductors, present
parasitic inductance that is in
series with the diode junctions.
In addition to this parasitic
inductance, there is also para-
sitic package capacitance that
typically is in parallel with the
diode junctions. These parasit-
ic reactances cause the RF per-
formance to increasingly devi-
ate from the ideal performance
as signal frequency increases.
The equivalent circuit for
a single junction diode in a
package is shown in Figure 9.
Clearly, the series inductance
will reduce the amount of input
signal voltage across the diode
junction. The parallel package
capacitance shunts some of the
signal current around the diode
junction. These two reactances
also interact with each other
to produce a parallel resonant
circuit which also will behave
in a manner that deviates sub-
stantially from that of the die
by itself.
For high frequency applica-
tions in which package para-
sitic reactances are particularly
troublesome, two other die
configurations have been devel-
oped which allow the die to be
connected to an external circuit
without the need for a diode
package. These configurations
are known as beam lead diodes
and flip chip diodes.
Beam lead diodes consist of
a Schottky junction which is
formed on the top surface of
a wafer, as would be the case
for a conventional vertical die
structure. However, in a beam
lead structure there are metal-
ized areas deposited on the top
of the wafer at each diode posi-
tion. One of these metalized
structures makes contact with
the anode contact of the diode.
The other metal structure,
which is in line with the anode
terminal, connects through a
metal via to the cathode layer
of the diode. After these metal-
lizations are formed, the semi-
conductor material in the wafer
that is between the diodes is
etched away, thereby separat-
ing the individual beam lead
diodes from each other. The
product of this process is a bit
of semiconductor material that
contains the Schottky diode,
with two metalized strips that
connect to the anode and cath-
ode of the diode and extend
beyond the edges of the die.
These metal beams are used to
connect the diode to the circuit
assembly and to suspend the
diode.
The beam lead structure
substantially eliminates the
parallel parasitic capacitance
and almost completely elimi-
nates the series inductance of
a comparable packaged device.
However, these advantages
come at the cost of more dif-
ficult handling of the diode
and the more difficult circuit
attachment techniques -- in
addition to the loss of the pro-
tection afforded by a package
encapsulant. The substantial
improvement in high frequency
performance ore that offsets
these disadvantages, especially
at frequencies from approxi-
mately 10 GHz and higher.
Another, even more signifi-
cant advantage of the beam
lead structure is the ability to
reduce the contact area of the
active junction to reduce its
capacitance. Since the electrical
contact of the junction’s anode
is made with evaporated or
sputtered metal rather than by
a bond wire, the junction area
can be made arbitrarily small.
In a vertical die which is placed
in a package, the top contact
area not only defines some of
the electrical characteristics of
the diode, it also must be suf-
ficiently large (typically 0.003
inches diameter minimum) to
allow reliable connection of
Figure 8: Pictures of SOT-23, SOT-143, SOD-323, SC-79, SC-80 packages
Figure 7: Schottky Diode Transfer Curve Showing Square
Law and Linear Detection Regions (Skyworks Solutions’
Application Note AN1014)
Figure 9: Packaged Diode
Equivalent Circuit
PAGE 5 • SEPTEMBER 2008 WWW.MPDIGEST.COM FEATURE ARTICLE
a bond wire. This minimum
top contact diameter effectively
imposes a minimum die capaci-
tance which can be produced
in a vertical structure die. The
beam lead structure eliminates
this restriction.
A flip chip diode has almost
all of the advantages of a
beam lead diode without the
handling and circuit-attach
difficulties of the beam lead.
Skyworks has recently intro-
duced two flip chip Si Schottky
detector diodes, SMS7621-096
and SMS7630-093, which fit
in the industry-standard 0201
component foot print. These
devices are fabricated much the
same as a beam lead diode,
with the exception that the
strips of metallization from the
anode and cathode of the junc-
tion connect to square metal
terminals on the same face of
the diode in which the junc-
tion resides. These pads are
electrically isolated from the
diode’s substrate. Attachment
to the circuit is accomplished
by flipping the diode junction-
side-down and either solder-
ing or connecting with con-
ductive epoxy to the external
circuit. The very low package
parasitic reactances and excel-
lent electrical performance of
the beam lead diode are avail-
able in this diode configuration
without some of the handling
and attachment challenges pre-
sented by beam lead diodes.
Gallium arsenide (GaAs)
Schottky flip chip diodes are
also available.
The significantly higher elec-
tron mobility of GaAs allows
GaAs Schottky diodes to per-
form well in the millimeter wave
bands. Skyworks’ DMK2790-
000 and DMK2308-000 are two
such devices. The DMK2790-
000 is a single Schottky diode
in the flip chip configuration,
while DMK2308-000 is an
antiparallel pair which typi-
cally is used in subharmonic
mixer circuits.
Conclusion
The Schottky junction is widely
utilized in frequency mixing and
RF power detection circuits,
due to the nearly ideal perfor-
mance of Schottky diodes.
Several variations of Schottky
diodes are available which can
be categorized by primarily
by barrier height, which is a
property of the doping applied
to a semiconductor layer and
metal which is deposited on
this material.
Schottky diodes are avail-
able in many configurations
and package styles.
Visit www.skyworksinc.com
for more information.
References
Maas, S. A., Nonlinear Microwave
Circuits, Artech House, 1988.
Skyworks Solutions, Inc.,
APN1014: A Level Detector Design
for Dual-Band GSM-PCS Handsets,
2005.
SKYWORKS
SOLUTIONS, INC.
Figure 10: Cross-sectional View of Beam Lead Schottky Diode
(note: this drawing is not to scale)
Figure 11: Skyworks’
0201 Silicon Schottky
Flip Chip Diodes Figure 12: Skyworks’
GaAs Flip Chip Schottky
Diodes

Figure 4: Doubly-Balanced Schottky Mixer where L = thickness of epi in cm µN = mobility of electrons for n-type Si (for p-type silicon the mobility of holes would be used) Nd = doping density of the epi layer in atoms/cm3 A = area of Schottky contact in cm2 The resistance of the substrate is given by the following equation: Rsub = 2* ρS* (A/π) 1/2 where A = area of Schottky contact in cm2 ρS = substrate resistivity in Ω-cm Mixer Diodes Compared To Detector Diodes Single-Ended Mixer A single-ended mixer consists of a Schottky diode and passive components utilized as filters.PAGE 2 • FEBRUARY 2009 spreading the parallel plates farther apart. The frequency conversion is obtained by operating a diode with fast response and high cutoff frequency as a switch. will result in a low overall receiver noise figure. The IF output is obtained through a 5: Subharmonic Mixer low pass filter. while the RF signal is also present. transformers. Since the detected output can be at a very low level. turning it on and off at a rate determined by the signal frequency of a local oscillator (LO). Schottky diodes connected as shown in the circuit below are available in single packages and as monolithic chips. the mixer diode should accomplish this conversion with a minimum of LO power and no need for an external DC bias source. This. unless the diode itself generates noise (other than normal thermal noise). This commutating action produces signals at two new frequencies: the sum of the RF and LO frequencies and the difference of these two frequencies. The diode may be operated at a small DC bias (typically 50 μA) which results in a relatively high RF impedance (typically 600 Ω). These circuits may www. Schottky Diode Circuits Mixer Circuits There are many different circuits utilized for frequency conversion. A good mixer diode with a high cutoff frequency will be capable of low conversion loss (LC). so the signal is converted to a lower frequency where good selectivity can be more easily achieved and where amplification can be accomplished with less expensive amplifiers. to achieve frequency conversion. Singly-Balanced Mixer A singly-balanced mixer is typically composed of a pair of Schottky diodes driven by a 180 hybrid coupler. at the minor cost of a couple more components. . Some examples of these circuits are shown below. Very low diode capacitance is required to achieve high sensitivity.com where CJ(VR)= junction capacitance at reverse bias voltage VR VR = reverse bias voltage from external voltage source CJ(0) = junction capacitance with VR = 0 V VI = internal contact potential = ΦB -0. combined with a low noise figure in the IF amplifier. The relationship between reverse bias voltage and diode capacitance is FEATURE ARTICLE In radio receivers mixers are designed to convert radio frequency (RF) energy to an intermediate frequency (IF) as efficiently as possible. and in some cases. The reason for doing this is that very selective filters at the RF frequency are expensive. the low frequency (audio) excess noise (1/f noise) is an important consideration. This circuit offers better interport isolation and noise performance than a single-ended mixer. Ideally. The desired output frequency for downconverter applications is the difference frequency. A local oscillator signal drives the diodes into and out of conduction at the rate of the LO frequency. The Figure disadvantages of this circuit are that isolation between the RF source.mpdigest. Detector diodes are designed to rectify very low levels of RF power to produce a DC output voltage proportional to the RF input power. The resistance of the epi is given by the following equation: Figure 2: Single-ended mixer Figure 3: Singly-balanced Mixer Utilizing a Series Tee Pair of Schottky Diodes comprise one or more Schottky diodes.15 for n-type silicon k= Boltzmann’s constant T= absolute temperature q= charge of an electron Series Resistance The series resistance of a Schottky diode is the sum of the resistance due to the epi layer and the resistance due to the substrate. This diode configuration is known as a series tee. This configuration has the advantage that it contains few components. the LO source and the IF output depends on the performance of the filters.

An example of the Schottky detector diode transfer function is shown in Figure 7.10 18 3 4 Vf 1 mA (mV) Min 200 300 500 250 325 550 260 350 500 270 375 600 Max 260 400 600 310 425 650 330 450 680 350 550 700 Low Med High Low Med High Low Med High Low Med High Beam Lead 504-012 DMF2835-000 DME2050-000 DMJ2092-000 DMF2826-000 DME2829-000 DMJ2093-000 DMF2827-000 DME2830-000 DMJ2832-000 DMF2828-000 DME2831-000 DMJ2833-000 Epoxy Package 252 DMF2835-252 DME2050-252 DMJ2092-252 DMF2826-252 DME2829-252 DMJ2093-252 DMF2827-252 DME2830-252 DMJ2832-252 DMF2827-232 DME2830-232 DMJ2832-232 DMF2828-232 DME2831-232 DMJ2833-232 232 Hermetic Package 222 DMF2835-222 DME2050-222 DMJ2092-222 DMF2826-222 DME2829-222 DMJ2093-222 DMF2827-222 DME2830-222 DMJ2832-222 DMF2828-222 DME2831-222 DMJ2833-222 Freq. or they can simply indicate the presence or absence of an RF signal. If the diode . The level at which this transition occurs is proportional to the barrier height of the diode. Low. the higher the barrier height the less sensitive the diode is to very small signals. These harmonics are mixed with the RF signal as well. Mixer Diode Barrier Height The barrier height of the Schottky mixer diode determines the amount of LO power required. so its interport isolation also depends upon the performance of the filters in the circuit. This diode is the most sensitive detector. medium and high barriers.mpdigest. Detector Circuits Schottky diode detector circuits are basically simple rectifier circuits which produce a low frequency (nominally DC) output current or voltage which is proportional in magnitude Figure 6: Single Schottky Diode Detector to the magnitude of the RF input signal.30 0. Band Drive Level Doubly-Balanced Mixer The doubly-balanced mixer is comprised of four Schottky diodes. The curve shown here is for a so-called “zero bias diode (ZBD)” detector diode. the higher the diode barrier height.15 0. low frequency local oscillator circuits to be utilized to down convert millimeter wave signals.com Table 1: Series Pair Mixer Diodes Beam-Lead Series Pairs. This arrangement allows a local oscillator of lower frequency to produce an IF signal with a very high frequency RF signal -. This configuration offers very good interport isolation and low conversion loss. N-Type. This mixer configuration offers very good interport isolation and conversion loss. Monolithic Schottky diode ring quads are available in several package styles and as chips. any Schottky diode can be used as a detector without requiring an external bias source. Subharmonic Mixer The subharmonic mixer utilizes the nonlinear impedance of an antiparallel pair of Schottky diodes in two different ways: it uses the diodes as a commutating switch and also as a harmonic generator.30 8 3 4 2 KU 0. Harmonics of the local oscillator signal are generated by the diodes.05 0. which has the lowest available barrier height for Si Schottky diodes. The transfer function of this circuit is composed of two regions: the square law detection region and the linear detection region. In this circuit the Schottky detector diode rectifies the input RF signal and charges the output filter’s capacitor to a voltage that is proportional to the input signal amplitude. The appellation “ZBD” can cause confusion. as well as the mixer’s nonideal performance characteristics such as intermodulation distortion. Medium.PAGE 3 • FEBRUARY 2009 FEATURE ARTICLE www. the greater the LO power must be for proper operation. Detector circuits are often used to monitor the output level of a power amplifier in a radio transmitter.15 13 3 4 2 K 0. Also. Generally speaking. Examples of series tee diodes of various barrier heights available from Skyworks are listed in the Table 1. 1 MHz (pF) Min Max Rs 5 mA (Ω) Max Vb 10 uA (V) Min 2 S 0. connected anode-tocathode in a ring.thus allowing less expensive. the greater the required LO signal amplitude and the lower the intermodulation distortion products will be. and a pair of transformers. The simplest RF detector circuit is shown in Figure 6. the greater the number of Schottky diodes in the mixer circuit. However. High Drive Cj OV. due to its very low forward voltage. the Schottky response transitions from square law to linear detection when the input signal level is approximately -20 dBm. The subharmonic mixer is a single-ended mixer.50 5 3 4 2 X 0. Mixer diodes are available with low. In this example.

” Diode Configurations and Packaging Modern RF and microwave systems often must be manufactured at low cost without compromising performance. SOT-143. Since the electrical contact of the junction’s anode is made with evaporated or sputtered metal rather than by a bond wire. For high frequency applications in which package parasitic reactances are particularly troublesome. The other metal structure. thus the nomenclature “ZBD. The parallel package capacitance shunts some of the signal current around the diode junction. SOD-323. In a vertical die which is placed in a package. Examples of such diodes are the SMS1546.in addition to the loss of the protection afforded by a package encapsulant. such as those from the JEDEC SOD and SOT families. The equivalent circuit for a single junction diode in a package is shown in Figure 9. for use in circuits that require more than one diode for proper operation. SMS7621 and SMS7630 family of detector diodes. as well as the lead frames or other internal metal conductors. These parasitic reactances cause the RF performance to increasingly deviate from the ideal performance FEATURE ARTICLE as signal frequency increases.mpdigest. with two metalized strips that connect to the anode and cathode of the diode and extend beyond the edges of the die. offer a reasonably good combination of low cost and RF performance.003 inches diameter minimum) to allow reliable connection of . Beam lead diodes consist of a Schottky junction which is formed on the top surface of a wafer. there is also parasitic package capacitance that typically is in parallel with the diode junctions. as well as in the SC-88 package. which are available in the SOT-23. these advantages come at the cost of more difficult handling of the diode and the more difficult circuit attachment techniques -. In addition to this parasitic inductance. even more significant advantage of the beam lead structure is the ability to reduce the contact area of the oped which allow the die to be connected to an external circuit without the need for a diode package. SC-80 packages contains the Schottky diode. it also must be sufficiently large (typically 0.com Figure 7: Schottky Diode Transfer Curve Showing Square Law and Linear Detection Regions (Skyworks Solutions’ Application Note AN1014) Figure 8: Pictures of SOT-23.PAGE 4 • FEBRUARY 2008 is slightly forward biased with an external current source. such as series pairs. The ZBD was developed to eliminate the need to use an external bias source in a very sensitive detector. These packages facilitate the assembly of the diode to a printed circuit board. the semiconductor material in the wafer that is between the diodes is etched away. The product of this process is a bit of semiconductor material that Figure 9: Packaged Diode Equivalent Circuit active junction to reduce its capacitance. as would be the case for a conventional vertical die structure. These two reactances also interact with each other to produce a parallel resonant circuit which also will behave in a manner that deviates substantially from that of the die by itself. the junction area can be made arbitrarily small. However. in some cases for signal frequency as high as 10 GHz. After these metallizations are formed. These configurations are known as beam lead diodes and flip chip diodes. The substantial improvement in high frequency performance ore that offsets these disadvantages. These advantages do not come without a cost. Another. connects through a metal via to the cathode layer of the diode. the internal bond wires that are utilized to make connections. The beam lead structure substantially eliminates the parallel parasitic capacitance and almost completely eliminates the series inductance of a comparable packaged device. SOD-323. Examples of mixer diodes in surface mount plastic packages include SMS3922. in a beam lead structure there are metalized areas deposited on the top of the wafer at each diode position. Many of these packages. and also facilitate the assembly of diode arrays. SOT-143. thereby separating the individual beam lead diodes from each other. especially at frequencies from approximately 10 GHz and higher. One of these metalized structures makes contact with the anode contact of the diode. the series inductance will reduce the amount of input signal voltage across the diode junction. the top contact area not only defines some of the electrical characteristics of the diode. SC-70 and SC-79 packages. as well as a very small land grid array package. afford some protection to the die from ambient conditions such as humidity. which is in line with the anode terminal. present parasitic inductance that is in series with the diode junctions. SMS3923 and SMS3924 families. Clearly. sensitivity to small signals can be improved. Schottky diodes in surface mount packages have proliferated as a result. two other die configurations have been devel- www. also available in the packages listed above. However. SC-79. These metal beams are used to connect the diode to the circuit assembly and to suspend the diode.

Schottky diodes are available in many configurations and package styles.mpdigest. Skyworks has recently introduced two flip chip Si Schottky detector diodes. which fit in the industry-standard 0201 component foot print. Skyworks Solutions. A. Figure 12: Skyworks’ GaAs Flip Chip Schottky Diodes SKYWORKS SOLUTIONS. INC.. due to the nearly ideal performance of Schottky diodes. with the exception that the strips of metallization from the anode and cathode of the junction connect to square metal terminals on the same face of the diode in which the junction resides. FEATURE ARTICLE www. These devices are fabricated much the same as a beam lead diode.skyworksinc. Skyworks’ DMK2790000 and DMK2308-000 are two such devices. The significantly higher electron mobility of GaAs allows GaAs Schottky diodes to perform well in the millimeter wave bands. These pads are electrically isolated from the diode’s substrate. The DMK2790000 is a single Schottky diode in the flip chip configuration. The very low package parasitic reactances and excellent electrical performance of the beam lead diode are available in this diode configuration without some of the handling and attachment challenges presented by beam lead diodes. Gallium arsenide (GaAs) Schottky flip chip diodes are also available. Artech House. A flip chip diode has almost all of the advantages of a beam lead diode without the handling and circuit-attach difficulties of the beam lead. Inc. while DMK2308-000 is an antiparallel pair which typically is used in subharmonic mixer circuits. This minimum top contact diameter effectively imposes a minimum die capacitance which can be produced in a vertical structure die. References Maas. Visit www. SMS7621-096 and SMS7630-093. which is a property of the doping applied to a semiconductor layer and metal which is deposited on this material.com for more information. .com Figure 10: Cross-sectional View of Beam Lead Schottky Diode (note: this drawing is not to scale) Figure 11: Skyworks’ 0201 Silicon Schottky Flip Chip Diodes Several variations of Schottky diodes are available which can be categorized by primarily by barrier height.. APN1014: A Level Detector Design for Dual-Band GSM-PCS Handsets. Conclusion The Schottky junction is widely utilized in frequency mixing and RF power detection circuits. 2005. Attachment to the circuit is accomplished by flipping the diode junctionside-down and either soldering or connecting with conductive epoxy to the external circuit.PAGE 5 • SEPTEMBER 2008 a bond wire. 1988. S. The beam lead structure eliminates this restriction. Nonlinear Microwave Circuits.

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