DIODE CHARACTERISTICS

by

Ima Student June 6, 2000

ETR 148-91B Instructor Al Koon, Associate Professor

The same procedure is then performed for the P-type material using an atom containing only three electrons in its outer shell (trivalent). A junction. called the depletion region. Each of these materials originally consisted of pure silicon doped to obtain the type of characteristic desired. Some of the free electrons begin diffusing across the junction and fill the holes in the P-type material. it leaves a hole creating a positive ion. The diode consists of N-type and P-type materials (see diagram shown below). Pentavalent materials are elements such as antimony. arsenic. Additionally. is formed where the two materials meet.PURPOSE The purpose of this lab is to verify the effects of forward and reverse biasing a silicon. The free electrons in the N-type material are blocked from diffusing to the P-type material by the negative ions in the P material. various means of obtaining characteristics curves for each of these diodes will be demonstrated. Doping is the process of adding impurities to the pure semiconductor material. A diode is formed when a piece of pure material is doped half as N-type and half as P-type material. and phosphorus. When an electron leaves N-type material. The N-type material is called the cathode and the P-type material is called the anode. germanium and zener diodes. and indium. THEORY Diodes are active devices constructed to allow current to flow in one direction. . Trivalent materials are elements such as boron. Eventually the diffusion of the free electrons and holes in the junction of the two materials will decrease to a point where it will stop. It is not constructed by fusing the N and P type materials together. N-type material is formed when the impurities with five electrons in the outer most shell (pentavalent) are added to the pure semiconductor material. When this occurs the atom that the electron joined becomes a negative ion. gallium. The area of positive and negative ions created around the junction is called the depletion layer.

The value of voltage at which the diode breaks down is called the breakdown voltage. With this configuration. The graph of the silicon diode shows the point in the forward bias region where the barrier potential is exceeded and the diode begins conduction. the point at which the diode begins breaking down is also shown. There is also a second minute current that flows through the resistive paths created by surface impurities. In the reverse bias region. For charge carriers to flow through the layer. This is called the barrier potential. a power supply is connected with the positive terminal to the Ptype material (anode) and the negative terminal to the N-type material (cathode). such as the silicon diode. For a diode to be forward biased. the diode breaks down resulting in the diode being damaged. For a diode to be reversed biased. There are two types of biasing that can be applied to a diode. The graph of a silicon diode shows the response curve including the forward and reverse bias regions (See Figure 1 next page). The effect of a zener diode breaking down in the reverse region allows it to be used as a voltage regulator. . will conduct in the reverse bias direction with a significant amount of voltage applied. This type of current is called surface-leakage current. The voltage level at the moment of breakdown is called the breakdown voltage as mentioned previously.Holes from the P material are blocked by the positive ions in the N material. the diode begins conducting. Other types of diodes. At the point of conduction. the power supply leads are set up with the negative terminal attached to the P-type material and the positive terminal attached to the N-type material. function in the reverse bias region. the electrons in the Ntype material and the holes in the P-type material are drawn away from the depletion layer increasing the width of the layer. Minority current is also called saturation current and can only be increased by an increase in temperature. such as zener diodes.3V (germanium)is required to break it down. minority current is still flowing due to thermal energy. As the potential across the diode approaches the barrier. The sum of saturation current and the surface-leakage current is called the reverse current.7V (silicon) or . a small voltage potential of approximately 0. Even though the majority current has stopped flowing. A diode. The voltage at which the diode begins conducting is called the knee voltage.

5 Forward Bias Region Knee Voltage VD(Volts) VD(Volts) Breakdown Voltage Reverse Bias Region ID(uA) FIGURE 1 PROCEDURE See Appendix A.ID(mA) 30 20 10 60 40 20 10 20 30 . No errors were encountered in following the procedure. .5 1 1.

2uA 1.7mA GERMANIUM ID 3.2uA 22.9mA .3uA 26.4uA 6V 0.8uA 10V 1uA 12V 1.5uA 16V 1.0uA 19.4mA 111.1V ZENER 994Ω SCALE 2KΩ 2KΩ 2KΩ REVERSE Open 310KΩ Open SCALE 20MΩ 2000KΩ 20MΩ TABLE 1 FORWARD BIASED DIODES SILICON VD ID .2uA .1uA 0.6mA 39.6uA 35uA 1.5uA 245uA 1.1 0A .5mA TABLE 2 REVERSE BIASED DIODES SILICON VD ID 2V 0.4Ua .2uA .1uA 11.4uA 8.1V ZENER ID 0A 0A 0.9mA 10.9uA GERMANIUM ID 18.7 6.8 30.6uA 18V 1.3 1.2uA 14V 1.13mA 41.2 0.8uA 16.5 85Ua .3mA 5.4 10.6uA 8V 0.2uA 4V 0.RESULTS RESISTANCE DIODE FORWARD SILICON 833Ω GERMANIUM 303Ω 5.3uA 5.6 708uA .4uA .3uA 12.

1V ZENER VD ID 1V 0.2uA 2V 0.8mA 5.2V 30mA .9V 1.8uA 4.4uA 3V 0.4uA 5.TABLE 3 REVERSE BIASED ZENER 5.1V 2.6uA 4V 0.0V 560uA 5.

5V 1V Silicon 20uA Germanium 40uA Zener 60uA .Diode Curves From Tables Germanium ID 30mA Silicon Zener 20mA 10mA VD 20V 10V .

Diode Curves From Curve Tracer Germanium ID 30mA Silicon Zener 20mA 10mA VD 20V 10V .5V 1V Silicon 20uA Germanium 40uA Zener 60uA .

the diode would begin conducting heavily in the negative region until the diode burned up or disintegrated.1V. the voltage levels off at the rated value and current begins flowing at a higher rate. germanium and 5. .1V zener diode were verified. The readings that were taken proved that current is restricted from flowing in the reverse bias region. Each diode was then tested in the forward and reverse bias directions using the curve tracer. The reverse bias dynamic characteristic of the zener diode was verified. open or nearly open. less than 1KΩ. respectively. As the voltage applied to the zener reaches the rated value of the zener.65V and . in this lab 5.CONCLUSIONS The forward and reverse bias characteristics of a silicon. The value of voltage at which the barrier is overcome is called the knee voltage. If the power supply was capable of causing breakdown. The results of these tests verified the results of the measured values of forward and reverse bias using the voltmeter and ammeter. the barrier potential was reached at . the barrier potential was reached at . This result makes the zener diode an effective voltage regulator. For the germanium diode. The extremely high resistance in the reverse direction.27V.67V. and the low resistance in the forward direction. The voltage necessary to cause breakdown of the diode was not possible to reach with the lab power supply and was not practical due to probable damage to the diode. proves that current under normal operating conditions will only flow in the forward bias direction. The significant difference between the zener diode and the silicon or germanium diodes is that the zener diode functions in the reverse bias region. For the silicon and zener diode.

PSpice .

Diode anode first cathode second .increments .8 volts in .get diode from library -20 .8 .run probe when through .LIB . used to measure current .Step diode voltage from -20 to .PROBE .1.Diode Characteristic Curve .1 volt .DC V1 0 0 D1N4148 330 .Dummy source.resistor used to limit current .diode voltage .END V1 1 0 VX 2 3 D1 1 2 R1 3 0 .

Appendix A .

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