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I-V CHARACTERISTICS OF A PHOTO DIODE

Experiment-298

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I-V CHARACTERISTICS OF A PHOTO DIODE
Dr Jeethendra Kumar P K

KamalJeeth Instrumentation and Service Unit, Tata nagar, Bangalore-560 092. INDIA.

Email: jeeth_kjisu@rediffmail.com Abstract Using Ga-As based photo diode (PD) in the visible range, I-V characteristic curves are drawn and the variation of PD current with input light power is studied. PD responsivity (Rλ) and Quantum Efficiency (QE) are calculated.

Introduction
Photodiodes are semiconductor devices that respond to high-energy particles and photons.

Radiation-sensitive junction is formed in a semiconductor material whose resistivity changes when illuminated by light photons. The junction can be made to respond to the entire electromagnetic spectrum.

Figure-1: PN-junction visible range LED type PD used in the experiment Three major types of photodiodes are available in the market: (i) PN junction photo diode, (ii) PIN junction photo diode, and (iii) Avalanche photo diode (APD). PN junction photodiodes comprise a two-electrode, radiation-sensitive PN junction formed in a semiconductor material in which the reverse current varies with the amount of illumination. PIN junction photodiodes are diodes with a large intrinsic region sandwiched between p-doped and n-doped semiconducting regions. Photons absorbed in this region create electron-hole pairs that are then separated by an electric field, thus generating an electric current in a load circuit. Avalanche photodiodes are devices that utilize avalanche multiplication of current by means of holeelectron pairs created by absorbed photons. When the reverse-bias voltage of the device 1 KAMALJEETH INSTRUMENTATION & SERVICE UNIT

X-ray photodiodes are optimized for X-ray. the hole-electron pairs collide with ions to create additional hole-electron pairs./m4/detectors. It varies with the wavelength of the incident light as well as applied reverse bias and temperature. the current is distributed between the shunt resistance and external load resistor. Figure-2: Typical Responsivity curve of photodiode Picture courtesy: electron9. In this mode..phys. which requires special fabrication processes. visible. When operated without bias.utk. The photodiode spectral response [1] can be measured in X-ray. and it is defined as the ratio of the photocurrent I to the incident light power P at a given wavelength PD Rλ= ூುವ ௉ IPD is photo diode current and …1 Where P is the light input power In other words.htm Optical Characteristics Responsivity (Rλ) The degree of response of a silicon photodiode to light is a measure of its sensitivity.I-V CHARACTERISTICS OF A PHOTO DIODE approaches the breakdown level. Also it varies due to change in temperature. Responsivity increases slightly with applied reverse bias due to improved charge collection efficiency of the photodiode. it is a measure of the effectiveness of the conversion of the light power into electrical current. Figure-1 shows the PN-junction PD used in this experiment. Visible photodiodes operate in the visible range. a voltage is developed which creates forward bias. UV enhanced photodiodes are optimized for the UV and blue spectral regions. Spectral responsivity may 2 KAMALJEETH INSTRUMENTATION & SERVICE UNIT . gamma ray.. thus reducing its ability to remain as a constant current source. When operated with reverse bias. UV. because of increase or decrease in the temperature respectively. This is due to decrease or increase of the band gap. A photo diode behaves like a current source when illuminated. one can accurately determine the value of responsivity. the photo diode becomes an ideal current source [2-4]. thus resulting in the signal gain.edu/. By drawing a graph of PD current variation with input LED power. or IR regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. and beta radiation detection. as given by the slope of the straight line representing IPD verses P curve.

When a reverse bias is applied. 3 KAMALJEETH INSTRUMENTATION & SERVICE UNIT . white light LED module. This voltage is called breakdown voltage. the relative variations in responsivity can be reduced to less than 1% on a selective basis. and photo diode LED type. Hence there is no exact formula for estimating photo diode current in terms of an experimentally measureable quantity. Figure-2 shows typical photodiode responsivity. the photo diode operates in the reverse bias mode. The photo diode current also follows the inverse square law and depends on the wavelength of the light. 0-20V digital dc volt meter. The forward diode current is given by ೜ೇ ID = Isat (݁ ೖ೅ -1) …3 This is purely the diode equation. 0-2mA digital dc current meter. Hence the current through the illuminated PD is given by IPD = IP -Ipn = IP+Isat ≈IP Where …4 IP is photon current (current due to illumination) Isat is reverse saturation current Ipn is the current flowing across the junction due to minority carriers. Hence one should not apply too much reverse bias. As the applied reverse bias voltage increases. being smaller for lower wavelength. However. Hence photo diode current is proportional to the incident light intensity. a small reverse saturation current appears. Quantum Efficiency (QE) Quantum efficiency is defined as the fraction of the incident photons that contributes to photocurrent. there is an exponential increase in the current similar to rectifier diode. It lies in the range 5 to 100V. Equation-4 shows that in the reverse bias case the conduction depends entirely on the illumination. It varies almost linearly with wavelength.I-V CHARACTERISTICS OF A PHOTO DIODE vary from one PD to the other and it is also dependent on wavelength of the light. When the photodiode is forward biased. Hence the width of the potential barrier (depletion region) gets higher so that the pn junction current Ipn will be governed by the thermal current Isat which flows through the diode in the absence of illumination. Apparatus Used Photodiode experimental setup consisting of: 0-3V regulated power supply. It is related to responsivity as Q E = 1240 ோഊ ఒ …2 I-V Characteristics The current-voltage (I-V) characteristic of a photodiode is a set of curves relating the voltage across the junction to the current flowing through it. there is a sharp increase in the photo current and the device will be damaged permanently. The magnitude of the breakdown voltage varies with the type of PD. In the photoconductive mode [3].

The complete experimental set-up is shown in Figure-3. The LED power (PLED=VLED ILED) is directly read from the dial marked on the LED power supply. The white light LED and PD are placed face-to-face 10cm apart (This is the industry standard for any LED measurements) [5]. By varying the pot in the emitter circuit the LED current is varied. Figure-4: Light arrangement of the experimental set-up 4 KAMALJEETH INSTRUMENTATION & SERVICE UNIT .I-V CHARACTERISTICS OF A PHOTO DIODE A transistor drive for LED is used. Figure-3: Photo diode experimental set-up Experimental Procedure The experiment consists of two parts Part-A: Determination of Responsivity Part-B: Determination of I-V Characteristics Part-A: Determination of Responsivity Figure-4 shows the light arrangement of the experimental setup. A dial is provided for the potentiometer which directly reads the LED input power (PLED= VLEDILED). 5V power supply and transistor drives are provided for the LED as shown in Figure-5.

The voltage across PD is set to -1V by varying 0-3V power supply. and the light arrangement is switched on. slope of which gives the value of responsivity.23 2. LED power is set to 10mW by turning the knob to its minimum position. Positive terminal of the PD (p) is connected to the negative terminal of the power supply and negative of the PD is connected to positive terminal of the power supply. +5V LED IPD 0-3V 100K 220 LED Current Adjustment PD V PD 0-2mA 2. 2. IPD =-393µA 3. The PD current IPD is noted.I-V CHARACTERISTICS OF A PHOTO DIODE 1. The LED power is increased to 11mW and VPD is again set to -1V and the corresponding PD current is noted in Table-1. After ensuring that the LED is glowing and while noting the PD current in the meter. This reverse biases the photo diode.2K Calibrated 500 in mW Figure-5: Circuit Connections Table-1 IPD(µA) 393 403 447 474 PLED(mW) 10 11 12 13 Rrev(KΩ) 2. 5.48 2. VPD = -1V. 4. The LED (white light) and PD are placed face to face as shown in Figure-4.08 5 KAMALJEETH INSTRUMENTATION & SERVICE UNIT . the cover is placed so that any external light will not affect the readings. 13mW etc. reaching up to 50mW. A graph showing the variation of LED power on X-axis and PD current on Y axis is drawn as shown in Figure-6. A straight line graph is obtained. The trial is repeated by varying the input power to 12mW. In each case VPD is set to -1V and IPD is noted in Table-1.54 2.

8% indicates that only 8.58 21 728 1.37 24 795 1.଴ସ଴ଽ = 1240 ହ଻ହ ൌ 0. This is because the light coming out of the LED is highly directional.87 50 1356 0.I-V CHARACTERISTICS OF A PHOTO DIODE 14 505 1.85 18 631 1.06 38 1137 0.25 30 941 1.088 ൌ 8.This parameter is similar to the fill factor in the case of a solar cell [6].027/0. hence by dividing responsivity by 0. forming a cone with solid angle [5].8% The small QE value 8.66 = 0.0409A/W = 41 mA/W Quantum efficiency (QE) is calculated using equation-2 QE = 1240 ோഊ ఒ ଴.66 gives the exact responsivity of the PD.66. Only a portion of the light falls on the photodiode as shown in Figure7. Rλ =Slope = 0.8% of the photons fall on the photo diode and contribute to the photo current.98 15 538 1.73 PD current variation with LED power The external conversion efficiency of white LED [5] is 0. 1500 IPD(µA) 1000 500 0 0 10 20 30 PLED (mW) 40 50 60 Figure-6: Variation of PD current with LED power (VPD=-1V) Photodiode Figure-7: Amount of LED light falling on photodiode 6 KAMALJEETH INSTRUMENTATION & SERVICE UNIT .

5 -500 -1000 -1500 0 Voltage VPD (V) Figure-8: I-V characteristic curves of PD 7 KAMALJEETH INSTRUMENTATION & SERVICE UNIT .5 -1 -0. The trial is repeated by increasing VPD in suitable steps up to a maximum of -2V.1 -0.5 -1. VPD(V) 0 -0.0 PLED =50mW 0 -72 -424 -904 -1212 -1296 -1350 - 10mW 20mW 30mW 40mW 50mW 500 0 Current IPD(uA) -2 -1.2 -0.10V and the corresponding IPD is noted IPD=-19µA 7. The LED power is set to 10mW on the dial and VPD is set to -0. 6. The corresponding IPD values are noted in Table-2.4 -0.3 -0. Table-2 IPD(µA) PLED =10mW PLED =20mW PLED =30mW PLED =40mW 0 0 0 0 -19 -47 -57 -59 -203 -338 -346 -370 -367 -631 -771 -838 -382 -686 -898 -1094 -384 -693 -921 -1132 -393 -711 -945 -1167 -404 -732 -976 -1204 Variation of PD voltage with current* (Negative voltage and current indicate the reverse bias).I-V CHARACTERISTICS OF A PHOTO DIODE Part-B: Determination of I-V Characteristics of PD In this part of the experiment PD current and voltage are recorded for different LED input powers.0 -2.

In the case of a GaAs PD. In each case variation in VPD and corresponding IPD are noted in Table-2.5 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 LED Power (mW) Fuigure-9: PD reverse resistance variation with LED power 8.5KΩ to 730Ω for input light power varying from 10mW to 50mW. The equal spacing between characteristic curves indicates linearity of photo current with light intensity which is clearly indicated in Figure-6. Results The results obtained are tabulated in Table-3. The experiment is repeated by increasing the LED power to 20.35A/W <20% Discussion I-V characteristic curve of PD shown in Figure-8 resemble that of a Germanium diode characteristic curve in the reverse bias. PD resistance varied from 2. 30.8 % Experimental Results Typical 0.041A/W Quantum Efficiency (QE) 8.I-V CHARACTERISTICS OF A PHOTO DIODE 3 PD Reverse resistance (K Ohm) 2. Another graph showing the PD resistance variation with light is shown Figure-9. 10. different curves are obtained for different light intensities. The only difference in case of germanium diode (which is obsolete at present) is the different curves obtained at different temperatures. From which one can see how the pn-junction resistance vary with light power. Responsivity (Rλ) at 575nm 0.5 2 1. A graph is drawn taking VPD along X-axis and IPD along Y-axis as shown in Figure-8. 8 KAMALJEETH INSTRUMENTATION & SERVICE UNIT .5 1 0. 9. Table-3 Parameters Expt. 40 and 50mW in steps. All measurements are done keeping the distance between LED and PD as 10cm which is standard in industry for LED measurements.

LE Vol-7. Page16. References [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] Dr Jeethendra Kumar P K.co. 9 KAMALJEETH INSTRUMENTATION & SERVICE UNIT . Efficiency of LED. No-1.udt. LE Vol-2. Photodiode history of operation. UDT sensors. When there is no light falling on the PD it does not conduct in the reverse bias. hence light is must for conduction in PD. Inc.I-V CHARACTERISTICS OF A PHOTO DIODE Silicon diodes do not conduct in the reverse bias whereas the PDs are optimized to conduct in the reverse bias by controlling the level of doping and also due to its inherent structure.2002. No-2. Page-63. AP Technologies.uk L Sharupich and Tugov. June.com Dr Jeethendra Kumar P K. 1987. www. The responsivity value 41mA/watt is low compared to typical value for which the distance between PD and LED are not known. Similarly QE ≈8. Page-87. Optoelectronics. www. LED Spectral Response. Page-50. No-1.8% is also low compared to the typical value.aptechnologies. Solar Cell Characteristics. Dr Jeethendra Kumar P K. LE Vol-10. MIR publications.