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EE301- Fall 2014

Laboratory #2: DIODE BASICS



1. Objective:
The purpose of this lab is to study characteristics of diodes. I-V curves of various diodes will be
investigated.
2. Preliminary work:
2.1. I-V curve of a diode: In the preliminary work you will construct a simple diode circuit and plot I-V
curves using spice. Using schematic entry tool of spice, build the following circuit.

Cir. 2.1
After building the circuit, change the diode model. To do this, first you need to highlight the diode
(dotted square around the diode, see Fig 1) by left clicking on the diode symbol. Then, right click on
the diode symbol to open the menu. Choose Edit PSpice Model.

Fig 1. Fig 2.
This will open the model editor of spice. The model editor window is shown in Fig 3 below. Note that
sometimes this window may hide behind the main cadence window, bring it to front by clicking the icon
that appears on the windows task bar. On the right hand side, you will see the following line:
.model Dbreak D Is=1e-14 Cjo=.1pF Rs=0.01

This is where you define the diode parameters. Dbreak is an arbitrary model name. You can specify
different names to different models if you have more than one diode in your circuit with different
parameters. D after the model name indicates that this model belongs to a diode. Is indicates the
saturation current. In this preliminary work you will change Is and observe the changes on the I-V
curve (you can look at the V1 vs diode current for now).

Fig 3. PSpice Model Editor window.
Now, in the Model Editor set Rs=0 as shown in the above figure and save the model. Create a new
simulation profile if you have not done yet (check the spice tutorial ppt to create a new simulation
profile). In the simulation profile choose DC Sweep and set the DC voltage source name to V1. Assign
sweep range and steps under Sweep type as shown below:

Fig 4. Simulation Settings menu
Now you are ready to run the simulation. Set Is to the following values using the model editor: 1e-14,
1e-13, 1e-12, 1e-11, 1e-10 and plot diode current vs diode voltage. (Using the simulation window you
cannot plot diode voltage vs diode current. But you can export the data using export function under the
file menu. Using export function save the data in cvs or txt format. Read the data using excel or Matlab
to plot diode voltage vs diode current.) Put these plots in your preliminary work.
2.2. I-V curve of a diode (cont): In the above exercise you learnt how to change diode parameters
and investigated the effect of reverse saturation current on the I-V curve of a diode. In this exercise
you will create different models and construct a circuit with diodes that have different Is values. Using
schematic entry tool create the following circuit.

Cir 2.2
Change the diode model names (Dbreak) for D2, D3, D4 and D5 as shown in the figure by double
clicking on Dbreak field of the corresponding diode. Now open Model Editor by clicking on one of the
diodes.

Fig 5. Creating new model
In the model editor, click New Model button which is shown in Fig 5. This will open a window where
you will enter the model name, write Dbreak1 in the model name as shown in Fig 6.

Fig 6. Creating a new model.
Hit ok in the above form. You will see Model Editor window will change as shown in Fig 7.

Fig 7. Creating new model.
As shown in Fig 7 choose Edit Model under View menu. The window on the right hand side will
contain the text based model of the diode. Erase everything in this window and write the following line:
.model Dbreak1 D Is=1e-13 Cjo=.1pF Rs=0

You can also copy the above text from Dbreak model. After writing the above text, save the model.
Repeat above steps for Dbreak2, Dbreak3 and Dbreak4. For each model increase Is by a factor of 10.
Once the models are ready plot I-V curves for each diode as follows:
First, sweep V1 voltage from 0.01V to 1V with 0.001V steps. In the simulation window, plot I(D1),
I(D2), I(D3), I(D4), I(D5). Click logarithmic plot button to see all the curves.
Second, sweep V1 voltage from -5 to -2V with 0.001V steps. In the simulation window, plot diode
currents for reverse bias.
Include both plots in your preliminary report.
3. Lab tasks:
In the lab you will be provided 5 different diodes (1N4148, 1N4001, 1N5404, 1N34, an LED and a
Zener diode).
3.1. I-V curves: Construct the circuit shown in Circuit 2.1 with the diodes provided in the lab. Sweep
the voltage of the source (V1) from -1V to 4V with 0.1V steps. Measure the voltage over R1 and D1
using a multimeter. Construct the following table for each diode separately.
DC voltage (V1) R1 Voltage D1 Voltage Calculated D1 current
-1.0V
-0.9V

3.9V
4.0V

Plot I-V curve of each diode using Matlab and include in your final report. Try to estimate the
saturation current for each device using the diode equation.
In addition, for the Zener diode sweep the voltage from -10V to 0 with 0.1V steps. Find the reverse
breakdown voltage of the Zener. Plot I-V curve for the zener diode in your report.
3.2. Saturation current measurement: You can measure the saturation current of a diode using a
multimeter. However you cannot use the current measurement mode of the multimeter. The saturation
current changes from micro amperes to pico amperes. The noise floor of the multimeters that we have
is much higher than these values for current measurements. But, you can use the circuit that is shown
in Cir 2.1 with a much higher resistor value. Assuming typical Is current of 1nA, if you use a 10 meg
ohm resistor for R1, you can get typically 10 mV voltage drop over R1 due to saturation current and by
measuring this voltage one can estimate the saturation current. V1 should be set to a negative value
to reverse bias the diode. However, there is another problem with this configuration. The internal
resistance of the multimeter is also on the order of 10megs. You cannot measure the voltages over
high resistors accurately, if the multimeter has a comparable internal resistance to the resistor that you
are trying to measure. But, if you connect the multimeter to the circuit instead of 10 meg resistance
you can measure the voltage of the multimeter and estimate the saturation current.
Construct the circuit shown in Cir 2.1 with the multimeter instead of R1 (Connect multimeter in series
with the voltage source and the diode. Note that although the multimeter is in series, you will NOT use
the current measurement mode, but you will use the voltage measurement). Set V1 to -5V and
measure the voltage reading. Find the current flowing through the multimeter by assuming the internal
resistance of the multimeter is 10 meg. Repeat this measurement for each diode and compare your Is
results obtained in part 1 of the lab.