A good way to visualize the MOSFET is as a capacitor (a device that stores electric charge) with a powersupply voltage (something

that moves the stored charge, creating current) across the bottom plate of the capacitor.
The MOSFET

Vgate
| | ------|Metal| GND-----| ------|-----VDS | |Oxide| | =====-------===== | S | | D | | | | | ===== ===== Semiconductor body ----------------| |

Vbody
The MOS capacitor

Vgate
| | ------|Metal| ------|Oxide| ------|Body | ------| | GND

MOS capacitor is just a portion of the MOSFET. In modern MOSFETS, highly doped polysilicon is used as the gate material. Technically polysilicon is not a metal, but it behaves much like one. When polysilicon replaced aluminum as the gate material, there was no reason to change the term MOSFET. The "oxide" under the gate is almost always silicon dioxide. However, it could be any dielectric material--its purpose is to provide electrical insulation between the gate and body. The MOSFET body is almost always silicon. The body is doped p-type to make NMOS transistors or n-type to make PMOS transistors. CMOS, a mix of NMOS and PMOS, requires n-wells and p-wells to provide both body doping types. The MOS capacitor is different from a normal parallel-plate capacitor because the bottom "plate" is a semiconductor. Unlike a metal, a semiconductor doesn't have a huge amount of free charge. When a voltage is applied between the gate and body, charge piles up on the oxide/gate interface. How the charge in the body is dispersed depends on the regimes of operation (a range of Vgate. I will consider the operation regions of an NMOS capacitor--the PMOS capacitor behaves in an opposite manner.

Thus for an NMOS capacitor (with a p-type body). Accumulation In the accumulation regime.Regimes of operation of an NMOS capacitor In the diagrams below I'll use + to indicate positive charge and : to indicate negative charge. the applied gate voltage pushes holes away from the oxide/body interface. Depletion Regime Vgate > 0V but < Vt | | ------|metal| |+++++| ------|oxide| ------|:::::|<------Acceptor ions |:::::| |p | |type | |body | ------| | GND . the voltage applied to gate draws more holes to the oxide/body interface. depleting the interface of mobile charges. The holes that are pushed away leave behind negatively charged acceptor ions. Accumulation Regime Vgate < 0V | | ------|metal| |:::::| |-----| |oxide| ------|+++++|<-----accumulation of holes |p | |type | |body | ------| | GND Depletion In the depletion regime. a negative voltage (and correspondingly an electric field that points from the body to the gate) puts the MOS capacitor in accumulation.

VT. referred to as the gate. it is said to be inverted. A second metal layer forms an Ohmic contact to the back of the semiconductor and is called the bulk contact. depletion . One below the flatband voltage. Inversion Regime Vgate > Vt | | ------|metal| |+++++| ------|oxide| ------|:::::|<------Mobile electrons |:::::| |:::::|<------Depletion region |:::::| still exists. VFB.Inversion In the inversion regime. We will refer to this as an n-type MOS or nMOS capacitor since the inversion layer contains electrons. Figure 6. The structure shown has a p-type substrate. The voltage at which a significant number (this can be arbitarily defined) of mobile electrons exists at the interface is called the threshold voltage of the MOS capacitor and is denoted by Vt. |p | |type | |body | ------| | GND The MOS capacitor consists of a Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor structure as illustrated by following Figure which is the semiconductor substrate with a thin oxide layer and a top metal contact. the applied voltage is enough to draw a large amount of mobile electrons to the oxide/semiconductor interface. These bias regimes are called the accumulation. and finally one larger than the threshold voltage. a second between the flatband voltage and the threshold voltage.1: MOS capacitance structure To understand the different bias modes of an MOS capacitor we now consider three different bias voltages. Since the previously p-type semiconductor becomes n-type at the interface.2.

Therefore.3. Accumulation occurs typically for negative voltages where the negative charge on the gate attracts holes from the substrate to the oxide-semiconductor interface. The voltage separating the accumulation and depletion regime is referred to as the flatband voltage. there exists a negatively charged inversion layer at the oxide-semiconductor interface in addition to the depletion-layer. is left in the space charge region. VFB. the Fermi energy is close to the conduction band edge as expected when a high density of electrons is present.and inversion mode of operation. Depletion occurs for positive voltages. At the semiconductor-oxide interface. due to the ionized acceptor ions. The positive charge on the gate pushes the mobile holes into the substrate. The presence of an electric field does not automatically lead to a non-equilibrium condition. The energy band diagram of an n-MOS capacitor biased in inversion is shown in Figure 6. . This inversion layer is due to the minority carriers that are attracted to the interface by the positive gate voltage. Inversion occurs at voltages beyond the threshold voltage.2. depletion and inversion conditions. the semiconductor is depleted of mobile carriers at the interface and a negative charge. The oxide is modeled as a semiconductor with a very large bandgap and blocks any flow of carriers between the semiconductor and the gate metal. The band bending in the semiconductor is consistent with the presence of a depletion layer. These three modes as well as the charge distributions associated with each of them are shown in following Figure. The semiconductor remains in thermal equilibrium even when a voltage is applied to the gate. In inversion. as was also the case for a p-n diode with zero bias. Figure : Charges in an n-type Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor structure (p-type substrate) under accumulation.

Later we will consider the actual flatband voltage in more detail. Inversion and Accumulation. The flatband voltage is obtained when the applied gate voltage equals the workfunction difference between the gate metal and the semiconductor. which implies that no charge exists in the semiconductor. and that of silicon.4. Flatband diagram The flatband diagram is by far the easiest energy band diagram. . A more positive voltage also attracts electrons (the minority carriers) to the surface. The flatband diagram of an aluminum-silicon dioxide-silicon MOS structure is shown in Figure 6. If there is a fixed charge in the oxide and/or at the oxide-silicon interface. yielding accumulation. Note that a voltage. The reader should also realize that the oxide is an amorphous material and the use of semiconductor parameters for such material can justifiably be questioned. FM. must be applied to obtain this flat band diagram. Initially we will assume that this occurs at zero gate bias. the electron affinity of the oxide. we discuss the four modes of operation of an MOS structure: Flatband. The term flatband refers to fact that the energy band diagram of the semiconductor is flat. c. The bandgap energy of the oxide is quoted in the literature to be between 8 and 9 electron volt. Indicated on the figure is also the work function of the aluminum gate. In the next sections. Depletion. as well as the bandgap energy of silicon. Flatband conditions exist when no charge is present in the semiconductor so that the silicon energy band is flat. the expression for the flatband voltage must be modified accordingly.2. Eg. Under negative gate bias. Surface depletion occurs when the holes in the substrate are pushed away by a positive gate voltage. coxide.Figure: Energy band diagram of an MOS structure biased in inversion. VFB. which form the so-called inversion layer. one attracts holes from the p-type substrate to the surface.

Inversion As the potential across the semiconductor increases beyond twice the bulk potential. Depletion As a more positive voltage than the flatband voltage is applied. .Figure: Flatband energy diagram of a metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) structure consisting of an aluminum metal. which form a so-called inversion layer. The negative charge on the gate attracts holes from the substrate to the oxide-semiconductor interface. The depletion layer width further increases with increasing gate voltage. Only a small amount of band bending is needed to build up the accumulation charge so that almost all of the potential variation is within the oxide. a negative charge builds up in the semiconductor. Initially this charge is due to the depletion of the semiconductor starting from the oxidesemiconductor interface. another type of negative charge emerges at the oxide-semiconductor interface: this charge is due to minority carriers. silicon dioxide and silicon. Accumulation Accumulation occurs when one applies a voltage less than the flatband voltage. As one further increases the gate voltage. the depletion layer width barely increases further since the charge in the inversion layer increases exponentially with the surface potential.

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