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The Schottky diode (named after German physicist Walter H. Schottky; also known as hot carrier
diode) is a semiconductor diode with a low forward voltage drop and a very fast switching action.
The cat's-whisker detectors used in the early days of wireless can be considered as primitive
Schottky diodes.

A Schottky diode is a special type of diode with a very low forward-voltage drop. When current
flows through a diode there is a small voltage drop across the diode terminals. A normal silicon
diode has a voltage drop between 0.6–1.7 volts[1], while a Schottky diode voltage drop is
between approximately 0.15–0.45 volts. This lower voltage drop can provide higher switching
speed and better system efficiency.

The Schottky diode or Schottky Barrier diode is an electronics component that is widely used for
radio frequency (RF) applications as a mixer or detector diode. The Schottky diode is also used in
power applications as a rectifier, again because of its low forward voltage drop leading to lower
levels of power loss compared to ordinary PN junction diodes. Although normally called the
Schottky diode these days, named after Schottky, it is also sometimes referred to as the surface
barrier diode, hot carrier diode or even hot electron diode.

Despite the fact that Schottky barrier diodes have many applications in today's high tech
electronics scene, it is actually one of the oldest semiconductor devices in existence. As a metal-
semiconductor device, its applications can be traced back to before 1900 where crystal detectors,
cat's whisker detectors and the like were all effectively Schottky barrier diodes.


A Schottky diode uses a metal–semiconductor junction as a Schottky barrier (instead of a
semiconductor–semiconductor junction as in conventional diodes). This Schottky barrier results in
both very fast switching and low forward voltage drop.

Reverse recovery time

The most important difference between p-n and Schottky diode is reverse recovery time, when
the diode switches from non-conducting to conducting state and vice versa. Where in a p-n diode
the reverse recovery time can be in the order of hundreds of nanoseconds and less than 100 ns
for fast diodes, Schottky diodes do not have a recovery time, as there is nothing to recover from.
The switching time is ~100 ps for the small signal diodes, and up to tens of nanoseconds for
special high-capacity power diodes. With p-n junction switching, there is also a reverse recovery
current, which in high-power semiconductors brings increased EMI noise. With Schottky diodes
switching essentially instantly with only slight capacitive loading, this is much less of a concern.

It is often said that the Schottky diode is a "majority carrier" semiconductor device. This means
that if the semiconductor body is doped n-type, only the n-type carriers (mobile electrons) play a
significant role in normal operation of the device. The majority carriers are quickly injected into the
conduction band of the metal contact on the other side of the diode to become free moving
electrons. Therefore no slow, random recombination of n- and p- type carriers is involved, so that
this diode can cease conduction faster than an ordinary p-n rectifier diode. This property in turn
allows a smaller device area, which also makes for a faster transition. This is another reason why
Schottky diodes are useful in switch-mode power converters; the high speed of the diode means
that the circuit can operate at frequencies in the range 200 kHz to 2 MHz, allowing the use of
small inductors and capacitors with greater efficiency than would be possible with other diode
types. Small-area Schottky diodes are the heart of RF detectors and mixers, which often operate

Diode designs have been improving over time. Point contact Schottky diode Although point contact diodes were manufactured many years later.up to 50 GHz. This was how the early Cat's Whisker detectors were made. requiring frequent repositioning of the wire to ensure satisfactory operation. 50 V and below. To overcome these problems a . Deposited metal Schottky barrier diode One of the problems with the simple deposited metal diode is that breakdown effects are noticed around the edge of the metalised area. these diodes were also unreliable and they were subsequently replaced by a technique in which metal was vacuum deposited. Leakage effects are also noticed. This often limits the useful reverse voltage to well below the actual rating. The most simple is the point contact diode where a metal wire is pressed against a clean semiconductor surface. and a relatively high reverse leakage current. and they were found to be very unreliable. Reverse leakage current. Structure The Schottky barrier diode can be manufactured in a variety of forms. because it increases with temperature. leads to a thermal instability issue. Limitations The most evident limitations of Schottky diodes are the relatively low reverse voltage rating for silicon-metal Schottky diodes. Voltage ratings now can reach 200 V. In fact the diode that is formed may either be a Schottky barrier diode or a standard PN junction dependent upon the way in which the wire and semiconductor meet and the resulting forming process. This arises from the high electric fields that are present around the edge of the plate.

but it is a factor which is worth watching when using it in more exacting applications. In some instances metallic silicides may be used in place of the metal. and the actual junction propagates below the surface. This process has the advantage that the reaction uses the surface silicon. When silicides are to be used instead of a pure metal contact. In the reverse direction breakdown occurs above a certain level. The mechanism is similar to the impact ionisation breakdown in a PN junction. making these diodes an order of magnitude faster than the conventional PN diodes. Deposited metal and oxide film Schottky diode There are a number of points of interest from the fabrication process. where the silicon will not have been exposed to any contaminants. and does not generally need the high temperature steps needed in impurity diffusion. However in some instances chemical deposition is gaining some favour. By making the devices small the normal RC type time constants can be reduced. This gives it tremendous advantages in terms of speed because it does not rely on holes or electrons recombining when they enter the opposite type of region as in the case of a conventional diode. Its unique properties enable it to be used in a number of applications where other diodes would not be able to provide the same level of performance. This factor is the prime reason why they are so popular in radio frequency applications. The overall I-V characteristic is shown below. This means that forward voltage drops are lower making the diode ideal for use in power rectification applications. Characteristics The Schottky diode is what is called a majority carrier device. and actual plating has been used although it is not generally controllable to the degree required. but with a much lower turn on voltage. The metal is normally deposited in a vacuum either by the use of evaporation or sputtering techniques. In particular it is used in . Its main drawback is found in the level of its reverse current which is relatively high. Applications The Schottky barrier diodes are widely used in the electronics industry finding many uses as diode rectifier. this is normally achieved by depositing the metal and then heat treating to give the silicide. It can be seen that the Schottky diode has the typical forward semiconductor diode characteristic.guard ring of P+ semiconductor fabricated using a diffusion process is used along with an oxide layer around the edge. and this is achieved chemically. At high current levels it levels off and is limited by the series resistance or the maximum level of current injection. For many uses this may not be a problem. A further advantage of the whole Schottky structure is that it can be fabricated using relatively low temperature techniques. The diode also has a much higher current density than an ordinary PN junction. The most critical element in the manufacturing process is to ensure a clean surface for an intimate contact of the metal with the semiconductor surface.

In these instances it is necessary that the power from one supply does not enter the other. This can lead to problems with any sensing circuits that may be in use. Their high current density and low forward voltage drop mean that less power is wasted than if ordinary PN junction diodes were used. often lead acid batteries because power may be required 24 hours a day and the Sun is not always available. Schottky diode in power OR circuits Schottky diodes can be used in applications where a load is driven by two separate power supplies. In addition to this their low turn on voltage and high frequency capability and low capacitance make them ideal as RF detectors. and as a result Schottky diodes are normally used in this application.especially with its use in LS TTL The use in each of these applications is slightly different. and smaller heat sinks may be able to be incorporated in the design. Schottky diode as an RF mixer and detector diode The Schottky diode has come into its own for radio frequency applications because of its high switching speed and high frequency capability. Solar cells do not like the reverse charge applied and therefore a diode is required in series with the solar cells. Accordingly they will be addressed separately. as rectifiers. As in many other applications. Schottky diodes tend to have a high reverse leakage current. This increase in efficiency means that less heat has to be dissipated. Any voltage drop will result in a reduction in efficiency and therefore a low voltage drop diode is needed. As in other applications. This can be achieved using diodes. This must therefore be accommodated in the circuit design. Schottky diode as a power rectifier diode Schottky barrier diodes are also used in high power applications. the low voltage drop of the Schottky diode is particularly useful. In view of this Schottky barrier diodes are used in many high performance diode ring mixers. Schottky diode in solar cell applications Solar cells are typically connected to rechargeable batteries. Schottky diode as a clamp diode . sometimes focussing on different properties of the diode. the Schottky diode is ideal for this in view of its low forward voltage drop.areas including: RF mixer and detector diode Power rectifier Power OR circuits Solar cell applications Clamp diode . Leakage paths into high impedance circuits can give rise to false readings. However it is important that any voltage drop across the diodes is minimised to ensure maximum efficiency. One example may be a mains power supply and a battery supply.

and in this situation the base collector junction in the diode is forward biased. An NPN transistor with Schottky diode clamp Schottky diode summary Schottky barrier diodes are used in many areas of electronics because of the properties thay offer. As a result Schottky diodes are used as discrete components for RF and power applications as well as being incorporated within devices as protection devices or for charge removal in devices from photodiodes to MESFETs. thereby improving the speed of the circuit. but it an essential part of many other components as well. To produce a low or logic "0" output the transistor is driven hard on. . Schottky barrier diodes are inserted between the collector and base of the driver transistor to act as a clamp. They were used in this role in the 74LS (low power Schottky) and 74S (Schottky) families of logic circuits.Schottky barrier diodes may also be used as a clamp diode in a transistor circuit to speed the operation when used as a switch. Not only do Schottky barrier diodes find widespread use in many applications in its own right. When the Schottky diode is present this takes most of the current and allows the turn off time of the transistor to be greatly reduced.