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Experiment-4 F

SEMICONDUCTOR DIODE CHARACTERISTICS


J Anil Kumar
KamalJeeth Instrumentation & Service Unit, Bangalore 560 094. INDIA

Abstract From the I-V characteristics curves of semiconductor diode variation in the diode forward resistance is studied with the forward current. The diode equation is verified and the reverse saturation current is calculated.

Introduction
Semiconductor diode characteristics curves relate the voltage across the terminals to the current passing through it. From such a curve the forward knee () voltage [1] is determined to decide the material of the semiconductor diode. Table 1 shows various semiconductor diode materials and their knee voltages. In addition from the slope of the curve above the knee voltage forward resistance is calculated. The forward resistance is the ratio of change in the forward voltage to the change in forward current. The value depends on the current flow. It is not a constant for given diode. However, when diode starts conducting fully the forward resistance becomes a constant. This constant value of the forward resistance represented by RFsat and the value is of the order of 0.1 ohm. RFsat is the resistance of the pn material of the diode when it conducting fully (saturated or all the free electrons taking part in the conduction). Table 1 Diode Material Knee Voltage(V) Part No Si 0.7 IN4007 Ge 0.3 DR10 Ga Al As 1.8 Red LED Ga As P N 2.2 Yellow LED GaP 2.0 Green LED Various semiconductor materials and their knee voltages The shape of the diode curve is exponential. Shockley [2] derived expressions relating forward current with various other parameters. The equation is generally known as diode equation or the Shockley equation. The equation is given by

IF = IS[eqV/KT - 1] 1 Where, IF is the forward current

IS is the reverse saturation current q is the electronic charge K is Boltzman Constant T is Temperature in Kelvin V is the voltage across the diode When a p and n material join to form pn crystal the majority of the carriers in both the sides cross over the junction and junction depleted of free charges hence a depletion region is formed. When a diode is forward biased forward current flow due to majority carriers. When diode is reverse biased reverse current flow due to minority carriers. The numbers of minority carriers present in diode very small hence the reverse current is very small, practically zero. This small current caused by the minority carrier is known as reverse saturation current IS. At room temperature (300 A) the term q/KT =30.64 40. Hence equation 1 is rewritten as IF = IS[e 40V - 1] 2 This equation is verified and the value of IS is calculated in this experiment.

Volts

CV CC

mA

SET-VOLTS

SET-I

Output

Coarse

Fine

n 4007

Figure-1, Diode connected power supply-forward bias

Apparatus Used
DC regulated power supply 0-30V/0-1A CV-CC model with digital voltmeter (0-200V) and digital milliammeter (0-2000mA) and digital multimeter, digital micro ammeter 0-200A.

Experimental Procedure
1. Silicon diode 1N4007 is selected for the experiment. Its maximum forward current (1A) is noted from the data sheet. 2. The DC regulated power supply is set to constant current mode (CC) as follows : 3. The Set-V knobs (Coarse and Fine) are adjusted to show maximum reading. 4. The Set-I knob is turned clockwise until CC indicator LED glows. The glow indicates power supply is switched to CC mode. 5. Output terminals (Red and Black BT5 terminals) are shorted with piece of wire and Set-I knob is adjusted to read 1000mA current (1A). Once adjusted now the short is removed and the supply is ready for use. 6. The diode is connected across the BT5 terminals with p to red terminal (+) and n to black terminal (-) as shown in Figure-1. This is the forward bias. 7. By adjusting Set-V knobs forward voltage is set to 0.1 volt. The power supply voltmeter reads this voltage. For better resolution (two decimal resolutions) a digital Multimeter or digital voltmeter is connected across the terminals. The forward voltage and currents are recorded in the Table-2. 8. Trial is repeated by varying forward voltage to in steps of 0.1volts up to maximum of 0.85 volts. Table- 2 Forward Current (mA)

Forward Voltage(V) 0.00 0.10 0.20 0.30 0.40 0.50 0.60 0.75 0.78 0.80 0.82 0.83 0.85

0 0 0 0 0 0 2 32 81 140 412 630 1012 Average IS = 2.2 x 10-15A Forward voltage and forward current 1N4007

Reverse Saturation Current (Is) x10-15A 3.0 2.3 1.8 2.3 2.4 1.7

9. The experiment is repeated for forward current limited to 550mA, 225mA and 100mA. The corresponding reading are noted in Table 3

Slope of the curve above knee (above 0.7V) is drawn at the mid point (at 500mA).

dV 0.095V Slope = ----- = ----------- = 0.125 dI 760 mA 10. The diode is disconnected and connected in the reverse biased with p to black and n to red terminals along with digital microammeter in series with the diode. 11. In step of 1-volt microammeter reading is recorded for voltage up to a maximum of 30 volts. The reading are tabulated in Table 4.
Experimental 1200 Forward Current (mA) 1000 800 600 400 200 0 -200 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

Forward Voltage (V)

Figure-2, Diode Forward Characteristics 1N4007


Table 3 Forward Forward Current limited To Voltage(V) 550mA 225mA 100mA 0 0 0 0 0.1 0 0 0 0.2 0 0 0 0.3 0 0 0 0.4 0 0 0 0.5 0 0 0 0.6 2 2 2 0.7 28 24 30 0.8 550 226 100 Forward voltage and forward current 1N4007

Table 4 Reverse Voltage(V) Reverse Current (A) 0 0 1 0 2 0 3 0 4 0 5 0 10 0 15 0 25 0 30 0 Reverse voltage and reverse current 1N4007 12. Forward resistance is calculated form the forward curves drawn as shown in figure 2 in each case of the current. The forward resistances obtained are tabulated as shown in Table 5. 13. A graph is drawn taking forward resistance on the X-axis and limiting current on the Y axis as shown in Figure 3. Table 5 Forward Resistance (Ohms) 0.125 0.130 0.200 0.500

Limiting Current (mA) 1012 550 226 100

Variation of forward resistance with forward current 1N4007

14. Using equation 2, reverse saturation current is calculated and presented in Table 2 for forward current limited to 1A. A graph is drawn taking forward resistance along X-axis and forward resistance along Y-axis as shown in Figure 3.

Forward Resistance (Ohms)

0.6 0.4 0.2 0 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 Forward Current (mA)

Figure -3, Variation for forward resistance with forward current

Results
The results obtained are tabulated below :

Parameter (V) IS (A) RFsat()

Experimental Value 0.7V 2.25 X 10-15 0.125

Theoretical Value 0.7V 1-10X10-15 0.1

Discussions
1. Diode characteristics identify semiconductor material of the diode. The knee voltage =0.7 indicate that the diode material is Silicon. 2. The forward resistance depends on the forward current. The variation in forward current with forward resistance is exponential as shown in Figure -3. However, the forward resistance is constant once the diode starts conducting fully. This is indicated by the curve in Figure-3, which goes parallel to X - axis after 500mA current. Here after forward resistance remains constant. And the constant forward resistance value is termed RFsat. It is the resistance of the pn material. 3. The constancy in reverse saturation current calculated in Table-2 verifies diode equation. However, the shapes of the diode curve and knee voltages are invariant under any forward current. 4. The reverse bias shows no current in microammeter for Silicon Diode. Hence the diode doesn't conduct during reverse bias.

References
1. A P Malvino , Electronic Principles, 3rd Edition, TMH Edition,1989 p-33 2. John D Ryder; Electronics Fundamentals and Applications; Prentice-Hall of India Pvt. Ltd; 1978; p27.