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EEM 328


The purpose of this lab is to study the characteristics of the diode. Some of the
characteristics that will be investigated are the I-V curve and the rectification


The diode is a device formed from a junction of n-type and p-type
semiconductor material. The lead connected to the p-type material is called the
anode and the lead connected to the n-type material is the cathode. In general,
the cathode of a diode is marked by a solid line on the diode (see Figure 1.1).

An ideal diode acts as a unilateral switch. It has a voltage-current characteristic

as shown in the Figure 1-2. When forward biased the diode acts as a short
circuit. When reverse biased, it acts as an open circuit. No power is dissipated
in an ideal diode biased in either direction since either the voltage across it is
zero (forward biased) or the current through it is zero (reverse biased).

Figure 1-2: Ideal Diode

A more realistic approximation to a real diode is a series circuit containing an
ideal diode, a battery and a resistor (see Figure 1-3). This model is called as
piecewise linear model or small signal equivalent model. The battery introduces
a small offset voltage, Vj , that must be exceeded before the diode begins
conducting under forward bias conditions. The value of Vj is determined by the
type of semiconductor used in the p-n junction. The resistor approximates the
semiconductor resistance under forward bias and determines the amount of
dissipation in the diode.

Figure 1-3: Real Diode

Figure 1-4: Real Diode Characteristic

When a real diode is reverse biased a minuscule leakage current flows through
the device. This current can be effectively ignored as long as the reverse
breakdown voltage of the diode is not exceeded (see Figure 1.4). At potentials
greater than the reverse breakdown voltage, charge is pulled through the p-n
junction by the strong electric fields in the device and a large reverse current
flows. This usually destroys the device. There are special diodes that are
designed to operate in breakdown. Such diodes are called zener diodes and used
as voltage regulators.
The voltage current relationship of semiconductor diode is expressed as
ID =Is (e VD / nVT -1). The relationship given in this equation is valid for both
forward and reverse bias; however, it fails to be valid when the reverse bias
voltage reaches a value that causes breakdown. This value of reverse bias
voltage is called zener voltage. The parameters Is and n can be found
experimentally. For this purpose the straight line portion of iv curve on a
semilogarithmic plot is extrapolated to intercept the current axis at VD=0 (figure
1-4). IS is read from the graph and n is calculated using the following expression:
n = (VD1-VD2) / (VT ln (ID1/ID2)). Real diodes have internal resistance Rd which
can be found as following; Rd= .


1) Study the operation of the diode full-wave bridge circuit in Figure 1-5.
Given Vs=12sin(2 Pi f t), f=60 Hz, R=10 K and silicon diodes, sketch Vs
and VR(t) for t between 0 and 35msec.
2 )Study the piecewise model of diodes.Find a mathematical expression for
internal resistance of a diode?

Figure 1-5: Fullwave rectifier


1-) Diode V-I Characteristics

Figure 1.6
a) By using the circuit in Figure 1.6 (R= 1 Kohm , diode: 1N4007)
plot the ID - VD forward characteristics for the diode up to 12 mA.
Find the device parameters n and Is.
b) Obtain the piecewise linear model of the diode at the circuit .
c) Find the zener voltage of the diode at the circuit.

2) Half-Wave Rectifier Properties

Figure 1-7

The half- wave rectifying properties of the diode can be displayed using the
circuit shown in Figure1-7 (R= 10 Kohm, diode: 1N4007).
a) Set the input voltage source to the circuit to an 4V p-p 1kHz sine wave.
b) Measure and capture the waveforms for the input and output voltages, the
diode voltage and the resistor current.

3) Fullwave rectifier Properties

a) Build the full wave rectifier circuit in Figure 1-5 and verify its operation
(Vs=10V p-p 1kHz sine wave R= 1 Kohm). Record the waveforms of Vs and
VR seperately.