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The basic function of transistor is to perform amplification. The weak signal is

given to the base of the transistor and amplified output is obtained in the
collector circuit. One important requirement during amplification is that only the
magnitude of the signal should increase and there should be no change in signal
shape. The process of raising the strength of a weak signal without any change in
its general shape is known as faithful amplification.
In order to achieve faithful amplification , means are provided to ensure that
input circuit (i.e. base-emitter junction) of the transistor remains forward biased
and output circuit (i.e. collector base junction) remains reverse biased during all
parts of the signal. This is known as transistor biasing. Biasing turns the
transistor ON and places it in a region where it operates linearly and provides
constant amount of voltage gain. For normal operation of transistor as amplifier
there is need to bias it in active mode i.e. Forward bias emitter base junction
and Reverse bias collector base junction. Also, set the operating point for proper
output. If it is not biased correctly it will work inefficiently and produce distortion
in output signal.

To ensure that input circuit (i.e. base-emitter junction) remains forward biased
and output circuit (i.e. collector-base junction) remains reverse biased at all
times and for all portions of the input signal, the following basic conditions must
be satisfied:
(i) Proper zero signal collector current: The voltage at the base emitter
junction should be such that it keeps the input circuit forward biased even
during the peak of negative half-cycle of the signal. When no signal is applied, a
d.c. current IC will flow in the collector circuit due to VBB as shown in the above
circuit. This is known as zero signal collector current IC. It follows, therefore,
that for faithful amplification, proper zero signal collector current must flow.

(ii) Minimum proper base-emitter voltage (VBE) at any instant: In order to

achieve faithful amplification, the base-emitter voltage (VBE) should not fall
below 0.5V for germanium transistors and 0.7V for Si transistors at any instant.
If base-emitter voltage VBE falls below these values during any part of the
signal, that part will be amplified to lesser extent due to small collector current.
This will result in unfaithful amplification.
(iii) Minimum proper collector-emitter voltage (VCE) at any instant : For faithful
amplification, the collector-emitter voltage VCE should not fall below 0.5V for Ge
transistors and 1V for silicon transistors i.e., the collector base junction should
be properly reverse biased.
The fulfillment of these conditions will ensure that transistor works over the
active region of the output characteristics i.e. between saturation to cut off.

Quiescent Point or Q-point is the operating point of the

transistor (ICQ,VCEQ) at which it is biased. Normally the signals that are to be
amplified will be of the order milli volts or less. If these signals are directly
applied to the amplifier they will not get amplified as transistor needs voltages
greater than cut in voltages for it to be in active region. Only in active region of
operation transistor acts as amplifier. So it is required to establish appropriate
DC voltages and currents through BJT(ICQ,VCEQ, IBQ) by external sources so
that BJT operates in active region and superimposes the AC signals to be
amplified. The DC voltage and current are so chosen that the transistor remains
in active region for entire AC signal excursion. All the input AC signals variations
happen around Q-point.
Q-point is generally taken to be the intersection point of load line with the
output characteristics of the transistor. There can be infinite number of
intersection points but q-point is selected in such a way that irrespective of AC
input signal swing the transistor remains in active region.
BJT load line Analysis:
By using load line analysis method one can determine the operating point
for the transistor. DC load line is the line drawn on the output characteristics of a
transistor (say C-E configuration) which gives the value of IC and
VCE corresponding to zero signal condition. When signal is applied it is called ac
load line. These load lines intersect at Q point called operating point.

DC load line:The dc load line is the locus of IC and VCE at which BJT remains in
active region i.e. it represents all the possible combinations of IC and VCE
for a given amplifier.

The sinusoidal signal source, vs , will produce a time-varying or ac base

current superimposed on the quiescent base current as shown in the
figure above . The time-varying base current will induce an ac collector
current superimposed on the quiescent collector current. The ac
collector current then produces a time-varying voltage across
RC , which induces an ac collectoremitter voltage. The ac collectoremitter
voltage, or output voltage, in general, will be larger than the sinusoidal
input signal, so that the circuit has produced signal amplificationthat
is, the circuit is an amplifier.
Consider C-E NPN transistor where no signal is applied to the input side.
The output characteristics is shown in the figure



We can write
VCE = VCC IC RC -----------(A)
Note that VCC and RC are fixed values.
Using the above equation IC can be written as
IC = (-1 / RC). VCE + VCC / RC
From eqn (A)
When IC=0
= VCC (Point on x-axis)
IC will be maximum when VCE = 0
IC = VCC / RC (Point on y-axis )
D.C. load line is drawn joining these two points.


In order to produce distortion free output in amplifier circuits, the supply
voltages and resistances establish a set of dc voltage V CEQ and ICQ to operate
the transistor in the active region. These voltages and currents are called
quiescent values which determine the operating point or Q-point for the
transistor. The process of giving proper supply voltages and resistances for
obtaining the desired Q-Point is called Biasing. The circuits used for getting
the desired and proper operating point are known as biasing circuits. Often,
Q-point is established near the center of active region of transistor
characteristic to allow similar signal swings in positive and negative
directions. Q-point should be stable. In particular, it should be insensitive to
variations in transistor parameters (for example, should not shift if transistor
is replaced by another of the same type), variations in temperature,
variations in power supply voltage and so forth. The circuit must be practical:
easily implemented and cost-effective.
Factors affecting stability of Q point:
In practice, the transistor parameters such as , V BE are not the same for
every transistor even of the same type. To give an example, BC147 is a
silicon npn transistor with varying from 100 to 600 i.e. for one transistor
may be 100 and for the other it may be 600, although both of them are
BC147.This large variation in parameters is a characteristic of transistors.
The inherent variations of transistor parameters , V BE may change the
operating point, resulting in unfaithful amplification. It is, therefore, very
important that biasing network be so designed that it should be able to work
with all transistors of one type whatever may be the spread in or V BE. In
other words, the operating point should be independent of transistor
parameters variations.
The collector current in a transistor changes rapidly when
(i) The temperature changes,

(ii) The transistor is replaced by another of the same type. This is due to the
inherent variations of transistor parameters.
When the temperature changes or the transistor is replaced, the operating
point (i.e. zero signal IC and VCE) also changes. However, for faithful
amplification, it is essential that operating point remains fixed. This
necessitates making the operating point independent of these variations.
This is known as stabilization. The process of making operating point
independent of temperature changes or variations in transistor parameters
are known as stabilization. Once stabilization is done, the zero signal IC and
VCE become independent of temperature variations or replacement of
transistor i.e. the operating point is fixed. A good biasing circuit always
ensures the stabilization of operating point.
Need for stabilization : Stabilization of the operating point is necessary due
to the following reasons :
(i) Temperature dependence of IC
(ii) Individual variations
(iii) Thermal runaway
(i) Temperature dependence of IC :The collector current IC for CE circuit is
given by:
IC = IB + ( + 1) ICO
The collector leakage current ICO is greatly influenced (especially in
germanium transistor) by temperature changes. A rise of 10C doubles the
collector leakage current.
Therefore, the change in IC due to temperature variations cannot be
This necessitates stabilizing the operating point i.e. to hold IC constant in
spite of temperature variations.
(ii) Individual variations: The value of and VBE are not exactly the same
for any two transistors even of the same type. Further, V BE itself decreases
when temperature increases. When a transistor is replaced by another of the
same type, these variations change the operating point. This necessitates
stabilizing the operating point i.e. to hold I C constant irrespective of individual
variations in transistor parameters.

Thermal runaway. The collector current for a CE configuration is given by :

IC = IB + ( + 1) ICO

The collector leakage current ICO is strongly dependent on temperature. The

flow of collector current produces heat within the transistor. This raises the
transistor temperature and if no stabilization is done, the collector leakage
current ICO also increases. It is clear that if ICO increases, the collector current
IC increases by ( + 1) ICO. The increased IC will raise the temperature of the
transistor, which in turn will cause I CO to increase. This effect is cumulative

and in a matter of seconds, the collector current may become very large,
causing the transistor to burn out.
The self-destruction of an unstabilised
transistor is known as thermal
In order to avoid thermal runaway and consequent destruction of transistor,
it is very essential that operating point is stabilized i.e. IC is kept constant. In
practice, this is done by causing I B to decrease automatically with
temperature increase by circuit modification. Then decrease in I B will
compensate for the increase in ( + 1) I CO, keeping IC nearly constant. In fact,
this is what is always aimed at while building and designing a biasing circuit.
The extent to which a biasing circuit is successful in keeping I C constant in
the face of variations of I CO is measured by stability factor S. It is defined as
,the rate of change of collector current IC w.r.t. the collector leakage current
ICO at constant and VBE
at constant and VBE
Stability factor for CE configuration

S should be as small as possible to have better stability

common biasing circuits are used with bipolar transistor amplifiers:
1. Fixed Bias or base resistor Bias
2. Collector to Base bias or collector feet back bias
3. Self-bias or emitter bias or potential /voltage divider Bias

1. Fixed Bias or base resistor Bias:

In this method, a high resistance RB (several hundred
k) is connected between the base and +ve end of supply for npn transistor
(See Fig) and between base and negative end of supply for pnp transistor.
Here, the required zero signal base current is provided by VCC and it flows
through RB. It is because now base is positive w.r.t. emitter i.e. base-emitter
junction is forward biased. The required value of zero signal base current IB
(and hence IC = IB) can be made to flow by selecting the proper value of
base resistor RB.

We know that

Thus the stability factor in a fixed bias is ( + 1). This means that IC changes ( + 1)
times as
much as any change in ICO. For instance, if = 100, then S = 101 which means that
IC increases 101 times faster than ICO. This method provides poor stabilization. It is
because there is no means to stop a self increase in collector current due to
temperature rise and individual variations. For example, if increases due to
transistor replacement, then IC also increases by the same factor as IB is constant. The
value of S in a fixed bias is large hence, it has poor thermal stability.
EXAMPLE 1: Figure below shows biasing with fixed bias method. (i) Determine
the collector
current IC and collector-emitter voltage VCE. Neglect small base-emitter voltage.
that = 50.(ii) If RB in this circuit is changed to 50 k, find the new operating point.

Considering the input circuit:





EXAMPLE 2: The circuit below uses a BJT with =100.Draw the load line and
determine the operating point and stability factor S

From the circuit

From output circuit

on the Ic axis


Considering the input side:

Operating point is marked on the load line in the above figure


A germanium transistor is to be operated at zero signal IC = 1mA. If the collector supply

VCC = 12V, what is the value of RB in the base resistor method ? Take = 100.(ii) If another
transistor of the same batch with = 50 is used, what will be the new value of zero signal IC
for the same RB ?

2. Collector to Base bias or collector feet back bias

end to the collector as

shown in the figure above.
Stability factor S:
Considering the collector- base loop

EXAMPLE 1: Determine the operating point of the following circuit. Assume =100


From the circuit


(i) It is required to set the operating point by biasing with collector base bias at I C = 1mA, VCE =
8V. If = 100, VCC = 12V, VBE = 0.3V, how can it be achieved?(ii) What will be the new
operating point if = 50, all other circuit values remaining the same ?

This is the most widely used method of providing biasing and stabilisation to a
transistor. In this method, two resistances R1 and R2 are connected across the
supply voltage VCC (See Fig.) and provide biasing. The emitter resistance RE
provides stabilization. The name voltage divider comes from the voltage divider
formed by R1 and R2. The voltage drop across R2 forward biases the base-emitter
junction. By proper selection of resistors R1 and R2, the operating point of the
Transistor can be made independent of . In this circuit, the voltage divider holds
the base voltage fixed independent of base current provided the divider current is
large compared to the base current .Required base bias is obtained from the power
supply through potential divider R1 & R2.In this circuit voltage across Reverse
biases base emitter junction. Whenever there is increase in this collector circuit
voltage across RE increases causing base current to diverse which compensate the
increase in collector current. This circuit can be used with low collector resistance.

The above circuit can be replaced using Thevinins equivalent circuit

Where VT= VB and R B are


Considering the input loop , VB can be written as


We know that the stability factor S of a self bias circuit is


VB =