TRIPOLI UNIVESITY Computer Department

Engineering Faculty




Lecture notes of
Electronic Material & Devices Course
(EC310)


by

Dr. Amna Elhawil





Fall 2011

Notes of Microelectronics I course (EC310) Dr. Amna Elhawil

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Contents
1 Materials .................................................................................................................... 4
1.1 Atomic Structure .................................................................................................. 4
1.2 Energy levels ........................................................................................................ 5
1.3 Types of Chemical Bonds .................................................................................... 5
1.4 Energy Bands ....................................................................................................... 6
1.4.1 Bohr Model ................................................................................................... 7
1.5 Material Classification ......................................................................................... 8
1.6 Conduction in materials ....................................................................................... 9
1.7 Important terms .................................................................................................. 10
1.7.1 Drift Velocity .............................................................................................. 10
1.7.2 Potential energy .......................................................................................... 11
1.7.3 Current Density ........................................................................................... 11
1.7.4 Conductivity and resistivity ........................................................................ 12
1.7.5 The difference between the resistance and resistivity................................. 14
1.8 Summary tables .................................................................................................. 15
Chapter (2) ........................................................................................................................ 16
2 Semiconductors ....................................................................................................... 16
2.1 Semiconductor Structure .................................................................................... 16
2.2 Bands of semiconductors ................................................................................... 16
2.3 Intrinsic Semiconductors .................................................................................... 18
2.3.1 Intrinsic Carrier Concentration ................................................................... 18
2.3.2 Conduction of intrinsic semiconductors ..................................................... 19
2.3.3 The current density of intrinsic semiconductors ......................................... 20
2.3.4 The conductivity of intrinsic semiconductors ............................................. 20
2.4 Extrinsic semiconductor ..................................................................................... 21
2.4.1 N-Type Semiconductor ............................................................................... 21
2.4.2 P-Type Semiconductor................................................................................ 22
2.4.3 Conduction in n-type semiconductors ........................................................ 23
2.4.4 Conduction in p-type semiconductors ........................................................ 24
Notes of Microelectronics I course (EC310) Dr. Amna Elhawil

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2.4.5 Extrinsic Carrier Concentration .................................................................. 24
2.5 Temperature effect ............................................................................................. 25
2.5.1 Temperature effect on intrinsic semiconductors ......................................... 26
2.5.2 Temperature effect on extrinsic semiconductors ........................................ 26
2.5.3 Temperature Dependence of Conductivity for a Semiconductor ............... 27
2.6 Summary tables .................................................................................................. 29
3 Diodes ...................................................................................................................... 30
3.1 The pn junction................................................................................................... 30
3.1.1 P-n junction under open-circuit condition .................................................. 31
3.1.2 The pn junction under forward-biased condition ........................................ 32
3.1.3 The pn junction under reversed-biased condition ....................................... 33
3.1.4 Terminal characteristics of junction diode .................................................. 34
3.2 Modeling the Diode forward characteristics ...................................................... 36
3.2.1 Ideal diode model ........................................................................................ 36
3.2.2 Piecewise linear model ............................................................................... 38
3.2.3 Constant-Voltage-Drop model .................................................................... 41
3.2.4 Small-signal technique ................................................................................ 42
3.2.5 Graphical or Load line analysis .................................................................. 46
3.3 Operation in the reverse breakdown region (Zener diodes) ............................... 49
3.3.1 The pn junction of zener diode .................................................................. 50
3.3.2 Zener Operating Characteristics ................................................................. 52
3.3.3 zener diode models ..................................................................................... 53
3.4 Applications of Diodes ....................................................................................... 56
3.4.1 Rectifier circuits .......................................................................................... 56
3.4.2 Clipping....................................................................................................... 63
3.4.3 Applications of clipping circuits ................................................................. 67
3.4.4 Clamping ..................................................................................................... 67
3.4.5 Applications of clamping circuits ............................................................... 70
4 References ............................................................................................................... 71

Notes of Microelectronics I course (EC310) Dr. Amna Elhawil

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Chapter (1)
1 Materials
1.1 Atomic Structure
Atoms are made up of 3 types of particles electrons, protons and neutrons.
These particles have different properties. Electrons are tiny, very light particles that
have a negative electrical charge (-). Protons are much larger and heavier than electrons
and have the opposite charge, protons have a positive charge. Neutrons are large and
heavy like protons; however neutrons have no electrical charge. Each atom is made up of
a combination of these particles.

Protons and neutrons are bundled together in the center of the atom, called the nucleus.
The electrons move around the nucleus, each in its own orbit like the moon around the
earth. Each atom of the same element is characterized by a certain number of protons in
the nucleus. That number is called the atomic number. Normally, the atom has the same
number of electrons in orbit around the nucleus. This atomic number identifies the
elements. The list of elements (ranked according to an increasing number of protons) is
called the periodic table. For example, Helium has 2 protons in its nucleus. Its atomic
number is therefore 2. Iron has 26 protons in its nucleus. Its atomic number is therefore
26. Uranium has 92 protons. Its atomic number is therefore 92. Moreover, the sum of
the number of protons and neutrons together is referred to as the mass number.

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1.2 Energy levels
÷ The electrons are arranged in energy levels or shells around the nucleus and with
'orbits' on average increasing in distance from the nucleus.
÷ Each electron in an atom is in a particular energy level (or shell) and the electrons
must occupy the lowest available energy level (or shell) available nearest the
nucleus.
÷ When the level is full, the next electron goes into the next highest level (shell)
available.
÷ The maximum number of electrons allowed in each shell is as following:
o The 1
st
shell can contain a maximum of 2 electrons (electrons 1-2)
o The 2nd shell can contain a maximum of 8 electrons (electrons 3-10)
o The 3rd shell also has a maximum of 18 electrons.
o The 19
th
and 20
th
electrons go into the 4
th
shell.
÷ Remember the total electrons to be arranged equals the atomic/proton number for
a neutral atom.
÷ Each shell number n has n subshells, there are four subshells (s, p, d, f ):
÷ The subshell s contains 2 electrons, p contains 6 electrons, d has 10 electrons and
f has 14 electrons
o The 1
st
shell has the subshell s. So maximum number of electrons is 2.
o The 2nd shell has the subshells s and p. So maximum number of electrons
is (2 + 6 = 8).
o The 3rd shell has the subshells s, p and d. So maximum number of
electrons is 18.
o The 4
th
shell has s, p, d and f. So maximum number of electrons is 32.

Examples: symbol or name of element (Atomic Number = number of electrons in a
neutral atom), shorthand electron arrangement to help you follow the numbers.
1. Boron (B, atomic number = 5): 1s
2
2s
2
2p
1
.
2. Silicon (Si, atomic number = 14): 1s
2
2s
2
2p
6
3s
2
3p
2

3. Germanium (Ge, atomic number = 32): 1s
2
2s
2
2p
6
3s
2
3p
6
4s
2
3d
10
4p
2
.
1.3 Types of Chemical Bonds
The two main types of bonds formed between atoms are ionic bonds and covalent bonds:
1. A covalent bond is formed when two same atoms share a single electron(s)
(see Fig. 1.1).

Notes of Microelectronics I course (EC310) Dr. Amna Elhawil

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Fig. 1.1 Covalent atom

1. Ionic bond: the electrons are shared between two different atoms, one atom
accepts an electron or more and becomes negative ion and the other donates an
electron or more and becomes positive ion. For example, sodium and chloride
form an ionic bond, to make NaCl, or table salt.

Fig. 1.2 Ionic atom

When electrons are shared by two metallic atoms the bond is called metallic bond. This
bond is very strong that is why metals have higher boiling and melting.
1.4 Energy Bands
The energy band model, or band diagram, is used to describe the behavior of electrons
and holes to externally applied forces like light, heat, and/or voltage. Here we are
interested in the microscopic things, like individual or groups of electrons and their
actions, so we have to use our imagination quite a bit here.
The band diagram models the allowed states in the semiconductor known as energy
bands. The two bands of allowed states are called the conduction band and the valence
band (Fig. 1.3). The two are separated by an intervening forbidden gap, which we call the
band gap. To review what the allowed states are take a look at the Bohr Model of the
atom.
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Fig. 1.3

1.4.1 Bohr Model
The nucleus in well-defined orbits determined by quantum conditions. A transition from
a higher orbit to a lower orbit will release quantized energies of light, which would
explain the light spectrum emitted by an element.
The Bohr model is used to account for the spectrum of the hydrogen atom, but the basic
idea is the same for all elements. The single electron in hydrogen revolves around the
nucleus in one of a limited number of circular orbits. When it is in the orbit closest to the
nucleus it is in its ground state, this electron is in the valence band of the element.
When hydrogen is heated, or some other energy is being applied to it, the atom absorbs
the energy and the electron becomes excited and "jumps" to an orbit farther from the
nucleus. In other words, it goes up to a higher energy state. The more energy is applied to
the atom, the higher in states the electron goes until the point where it becomes a free
electron and no longer part of the atom.
1.4.1.1 The Conduction Band
The conduction band is the upper band of allowed states. When it is drawn it is
represented by a line labeled by E
c
which represents the lowest possible energy state in
the conduction band.
This band is usually empty. It contains few or no electrons since energy is required for
them to get there from the valence band. Electrons in the conduction band are free to
move about the crystal, thus the name conduction band.
If an electron does manage to get to the conduction band, it resides there for mere
fractions of a second (an average lifetime). When it loses its energy it drops back down to
the valence band emitting its energy as heat, light or by transferring it to another electron.
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1.4.1.2 The Valence Band
The valence band is the lower band of allowed states. In the drawings it is depicted by a
line labeled by E
v
which represents the highest energy state in the valence band. Since
electrons have a tendency to fill the lowest available energy states. The valence band is
always nearly completely filled with electrons, especially as the temperature falls toward
0K. As the temperature rises or light is introduced, electrons can absorb the energy and
leave the valence band to rise up to the conduction band. When an electron gains enough
energy, greater than the band gap energy, and gets to the upper band, it is free to move,
becoming a carrier and therefore increasing the conductivity of the semiconductor. When
electrons leave the valence band they leave behind a hole which can move about the
crystal, also adding to the conductivity.
1.4.1.3 The Band Gap
The band gap energy is the energy needed to break a bond in the crystal. When a bond is
broken, the electron has absorbed enough energy to leave the valence band and "jump" to
the conduction band. The width of the band gap determines the type of material
(conductor, semiconductor, insulator) you are working with. This is shown pictorially
using a band diagram.
1.4.1.4 Fermi Level
It is the highest energy level that an electron can reach or occupy in a material at absolute
zero temperature. At absolute zero the electrons pack into the lowest available energy
states and build up a "Fermi sea" of electron energy states. The Fermi level is the surface
of that sea at absolute zero where no electrons will have enough energy to rise above the
surface.
At higher temperatures a certain fraction of electrons, characterized by the Fermi
function, will exist above the Fermi level. The Fermi level plays an important role in the
band theory of solids. In doped semiconductors, p-type and n-type, the Fermi level is
shifted by the impurities, illustrated by their band gaps.

1.5 Material Classification
Materials can be classified according to their bandgaps:
1) An insulator is a poor conductor since it requires a lot of energy, 5-8
eV, to excite the electrons enough to get to the conduction band. We can
say that the width of the band gap is very large, since it requires that
much energy to traverse the band gap, and draw the band diagram
respectively.
Notes of Microelectronics I course (EC310) Dr. Amna Elhawil

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Fig. 1.4 Materials band gaps

2) A metal is an excellent conductor because, at room temperature, it has
electrons in its conduction band constantly, with little or no energy being
applied to it. This may be because of its narrow or nonexistent band gap,
the conduction band may be overlapping the valence band so they share
the electrons. The band diagram would be drawn with E
c
and E
v
very
close together, if not overlapping.

3) A semiconductor: the reason semiconductors are so popular is because
they are a medium between a metal and an insulator. The band gap is
wide enough to where current is not going through it at all times, but
narrow enough to where it does not take a lot of energy to have electrons
in the conduction band creating a current.

1.6 Conduction in materials
Conduction in metals is by electrons in the conduction band. Conduction in insulators is
by electrons in the conduction band and by holes in the valence band. Holes are vacant
states in the valence band that are created when an electron is removed.
In metals there are empty states just above the Fermi levels, where electrons can be
promoted. The promotion energy is negligibly small so that at any temperature electrons
can be found in the conduction band. The number of electrons participating in electrical
conduction is extremely small.
In insulators, there is an energy gap between the valence and conduction bands, so
energy is needed to promote an electron to the conduction band. This energy may come
from heat, or from energetic radiation, like light of sufficiently small wavelength. For
example, the bandgap energy E
g
of the Carbon is about 6 eV. This large forbidden band
separates the valance band from the conduction band. The energy which can be supplied
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to an electron from an applied field is too small to carry the electron from the valance
band to conduction band. Since the electron cannot acquire sufficient applied energy,
conduction is impossible, and here Carbon is an insulator.

In semiconductors the width of the bandgap is relatively small ( ≈ 1 eV). The most
important semiconductor materials are germanium and silicon which have values of E
g
of
0.785 and 1.21 eV, respectively at 0 ºK. Energies of these values normally cannot be
acquired from an applied field. Hence the valance band remains full, the conduction band
empty and these materials are insulators at low temperature. However, the conductivity
increases with temperature so some valance electrons acquire thermal energy greater than
E
g
and move to the conduction band.
The difference between semiconductors and insulators is that in semiconductors,
electrons can reach the conduction band at ordinary temperatures, where in insulators
they cannot.
1.7 Important terms
1.7.1 Drift Velocity
If an electric field E (V/m) is applied to a metal, an electrostatic force is exerted on the
free electrons. This force on an individual electron is given by
F = −qE (N) (1.1)
, where q is the electron charge (q = 1.6 × 10
−19
Coulombs).

Fig. 1.5

The electrostatic forces cause the electrons to be accelerated in a direction opposite to
that of the applied field, which causes conduction current to flow. Fig. 1.5 illustrates the
path that an individual electron might take under the influence of the electric field. If the
electron did not collide with the bound ions, its velocity would increase indefinitely.
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However, energy is lost with each collision so that the average velocity approaches a
constant or steady-state value. The average velocity v
d
(m/ s) is called the drift velocity.
It is proportional to the applied field and is given by
v
d
= −μe E (1.2)
where μ
e
(m
2
/V. s) is the electron mobility. (The minus sign is required because the
negative charge on the electron causes it to move is a direction opposite to the field).
The average distance that the electron travels between collisions with the bound ions is
called the mean free path. As the temperature increases, the bound ions vibrate with
increasing intensity, causing the mean free path between collisions to decrease. This
effect causes the drift velocity v
d
to decrease, which is modeled by a decrease in the
electron mobility μe with temperature.
1.7.2 Potential energy
The electrons receive energy from both their position and motion. The energy gained
from the position is called potential energy (P.E), while the energy received by motion of
electrons is called kinetic energy (K.E). The potential energy is defined as

(J) (1.3)

m is the mass of electrons equals (9.11 x 10
-31
Kg) and v is its velocity. Whereas the
potential energy is

(J) (1.4)

k = 4πɛ
0
= 9x10
9
, and r
n
is the radius of n orbit or in other word, it’s the distance from the
nucleus. Thus the total energy is the sum of both energies
Total energy = K.E + P.E (J)
1.7.3 Current Density
The current density J (A/m
2
) in a conductor is defined as the current per unit area flowing
in a particular direction. To relate the current density in a conductor to the drift velocity
of the moving charges, consider a wire of length L and a cross section area A in which a
current I is flowing. The total current passing the wire is the total charge passing any
area per time:
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Fig. 1.6


(1.5)

where q is the electron charge, N number of charge (electrons) and t is the time. Also

(1.6)

It follows that the current density J can be related to the drift velocity v
d
as follows:

(A/m
2
) (1.7)

where A is the cross section area.

(A/m
2
) (1.8)


If we consider the electron concentration n equals to

m
-3

(1.8) can be reduced to

(A/m
2
) (1.9)

1.7.4 Conductivity and resistivity
Both are physical properties of materials. Using Eqs. (1.2) through (1.9), we can relate
the current density J to the electric field E in a metal as follows:
J μe E (A/m
2
) (1.10)



J = σ E (A/m
2
) (1.11)
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This equation defines the conductivity σ ( Ω
−1
m
−1
) of the metal. The conductivity is given
by
σ = nqμe (1.12)
Because n is independent of temperature in a metal, it follows that the decrease in
electron mobility μe with temperature causes the conductivity σ to decrease with
temperature. On the other hand, the inverse of the conductivity is called resistivity:

(Ω.m) (1.13)
The resistivity is related to the resistance of the material as following, from (1.7)
(1.14)
Replacing J as given in (1.11)

Considering the applied voltage V = E L:

where

(1.12)
Or

(1.13)

The term ρ is the resistivity. From (1.13) we note that the resistance is directly
proportional to the length of the wire and inversely proportional to its area. Because the
conductivity σ decreases with temperature it follows from this equation that R increases
with temperature. In most metals, the resistance increases linearly with temperature.
Table 1.1 lists the resistivity and conductivity of some materials. Note that for
semiconductors both properties are controlled by adding impurities. Therefore, it could
be increased or decreased. This is in fact the main advantage of semiconductors.
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Table 1.1 Resistivity of some materials at 20º C

Material
Resistivity µ
(O.m)
Conductivity o
x 10
7
/Om
Conductors
Silver 1.59 x 10
-8
6.29
Copper 1.68 x 10
-8
5.95
Aluminum 2.65 x 10
-8
3.77
Iron 9.71 x 10
-8
1.03
Semiconductors
*Silicon 0.1-60 x 10
x
-
*Germanium 1-500 x 10
-3
-
Insulators
Glass 1-10000 x 10
9
-
Quartz 7.5 x 10
17
1.3 x 10
9

Rubber 1-100 x 10
13
-
*The resistivity of semiconductors depends strongly on the presence of impurities in the
material.


Fig. 1.7
1.7.5 The difference between the resistance and resistivity
The resistance of a sample is a measurement of how much the sample impedes the flow
of electrons through it. The type of material within a resistor and its physical dimensions
are some of the factors which determine its resistance.
Resistivity is a different concept to resistance. Resistivity values are used to compare the
conducting properties of different materials. The resistivity value of a specific material is
a 'material constant' and, unlike resistance, is independent of the dimensions of the
sample.

Semiconductors Conductors Insulators
Resistivity
10
-12
10
-7
10
-3
10
8
10
12
10
20




Resistivity is controlled using doping
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1.8 Summary tables



Table 1.1 Some important formulas
Name Formula Unit
Electric field

Newton/Coulomb or
Volt/meter
Drift velocity

m/s
Kinetic energy (K.E)

m: mass of electron (9.11x10-
31
kg)
v: its velocity

= N.m =W.s= Joules
N=Newton, W=Watt
Potential energy (P.E)

K= 2πɛ=9x10
9
, r=radius of n orbit
J
Current

N=number of charges, t =time
(A)=Ampere
Current density

Or

Or
n= electron concentration (m
-3
)
A/m
2

Conductivity
(A.s)(m
-
3
)(m
2
/V.s)=(Ω.m)
-1

Resistivity`

A=cross section area, L= length, R
=resistance
Ω.m
q= 1.6 x 10
-19
J (J=Ampere.s)
Avogadro’s number= 6.022 x 10
23
atom/mole


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Chapter (2)
2 Semiconductors
The atoms in a semiconductor are materials from either group IV of the periodic table, or
from a combination of group III and group V (called III-V semiconductors), or of
combinations from group II and group VI (called II-VI semiconductors). More common
semiconductor materials are shown in blue. A semiconductor can be either of a single
element, such as Si or Ge, a compound, such as gallium arsenide (GaAs), InP or CdTe.
2.1 Semiconductor Structure
Semiconductors, such as Silicon (Si) are made up of individual atoms bonded together in
a regular, periodic structure to form an arrangement whereby each atom is surrounded by
8 electrons. As explained in Chapter (1), an individual atom consists of a nucleus made
up of a core of protons and neutrons surrounded by electrons. The electrons surrounding
each atom in a semiconductor are part of a covalent bond. A covalent bond consists of
two atoms "sharing" a single electron. Each atom forms 4 covalent bonds with the 4
surrounding atoms. Therefore, between each atom and its 4 surrounding atoms, 8
electrons are being shared. The structure of a semiconductor is shown in the figure below.

Fig. 2.1
2.2 Bands of semiconductors
The band gap of a semiconductor is the minimum energy required to excite an electron
that is stuck in its bound state into a free state where it can participate in conduction.
Table 1.1 gives the values E
g
and for some semiconductors at room temperature (300 K).
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Semiconductor InSb Ge Si InP GaAs GaP SiC
E
g
, (eV) 0.17 0.72 1.1 1.3 1.4 2.3 2.4 - 3.2

Once the electron becomes excited into the conduction band, it is free to move about the
semiconductor and participate in conduction. However, the excitation of an electron to
the conduction band will also allow an additional conduction process to take place. The
excitation of an electron to the conduction band leaves behind an empty space for an
electron. An electron from a neighboring atom can move into this empty space. When
this electron moves, it leaves behind another space. The continual movement of the space
for an electron, called a "hole", can be illustrated as the movement of a positively charged
particle through the crystal structure. Consequently, the excitation of an electron into the
conduction band results in not only an electron in the conduction band but also a hole in
the valence band. Thus, both the electron and hole can participate in conduction and are
called "carriers".

(a)


(b)

(c)

(d)
Fig. 2.2
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The concept of a moving "hole" is analogous to that of a bubble in a liquid. Although it
is actually the liquid that moves, it is easier to describe the motion of the bubble going in
the opposite direction.

2.3 Intrinsic Semiconductors
A semiconductor such as silicon without any impurities is called intrinsic
semiconductors. In such crystals, the atoms are strongly held by covalent bonds. On
receiving energy, a covalent bond breaks and an electron is free to move in crystal lattice.
This electron leaves an empty space (shown as an open circle in Fig. 2.3) called a hole.
An electron from a neighboring atom can break and an electron can fill this hole, thereby
creating a hole elsewhere. This indicates holes and electrons travel in opposite direction
to applied electric field and so, there are two streams of current inside a semiconductor
i.e., electron current and hole current i.e., I = I
e
+ I
n
.

Fig. 2.3

2.3.1 Intrinsic Carrier Concentration
The thermal excitation of a carrier from the valence band to the conduction band creates
free carriers in both bands. The concentration of these carriers is called the intrinsic
carrier concentration or carrier density, denoted by n
i
. The intrinsic carrier concentration
is the number of electrons in the conduction band or the number of holes in the valence
band in intrinsic material. This number of carriers depends on the band gap of the
material and on the temperature of the material. A large band gap will make it more
difficult for a carrier to be thermally excited across the band gap, and therefore the
intrinsic carrier concentration is lower in higher band gap materials. Alternatively,
increasing the temperature makes it more likely that an electron will be excited into the
conduction band, which will increase the intrinsic carrier concentration. We may denote,
n : intrinsic electron concentration
p : intrinsic hole concentration
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These carriers move in opposite direction but they are equal:
n = p = n
i

n
i
2

= n . p

(2.1)
Simply, n
i
: intrinsic carrier concentration, which refers to the product of the intrinsic
electron and hole concentration. It is always a constant for a given semiconductor
material at a given temperature (function of temperature).


Fig. 2.4

Table 2.1 Commonly accepted values of ni at T = 300°K
Silicon 1.5 x 10
10
cm
-3

Gallium arsenide 1.8 x 10
6
cm
-3

Germanium 2.4 x 10
13
cm
-3

2.3.2 Conduction of intrinsic semiconductors
• Consider nominally pure semiconductor at T = 0 K
• There is no electrons in the conduction band

Fig. 2.9
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• At T > 0 K a small fraction of electrons is thermally excited into the conduction
band, “leaving” the same number of holes in the valence band .

Fig. 2.10
• Electrons and holes contribute to the current when a voltage is applied

Fig. 2.11

2.3.3 The current density of intrinsic semiconductors
In the intrinsic semiconductors, both holes and electrons contribute to the conduction
process. The current density J results from an electric field E is obtained from (1.7)
J= q(n µ
n
+ p µ
p
) E (A/m
3
) (2.2)
µ
n
is the electron mobility and µ
p
is the hole mobility. From (2.1)
J= qn


n
+ µ
p
) E (A/m
3
) (2.3)

2.3.4 The conductivity of intrinsic semiconductors
The conductivity of intrinsic semiconductors is
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σ= q n (µ
n
+ µ
p
) (Ω.m)
-1
(2.4)
For silicon at 300 K:
µ
n
(electron mobility) = 1500 cm
2
/v.s
µ
p
(hole mobility) = 475 cm
2
/v.s
ρ

(resistivity) = 2.3 x 10
5
Ω.m

2.4 Extrinsic semiconductor
Neither pure silicon (Si) nor germanium (Ge) are great conductors. To increase the
conductivity of intrinsic semiconductors impurity atoms are added to form extrinsic or
doped semiconductors. The total of eight electrons cannot easily be jiggled out of place
by an incoming current. If , however, the crystalline array is “doped”(mixed with an
impurity) with arsenic which has five valence electrons, the behaviour of the lattice will
change. During doping, impurity atoms are introduced to an intrinsic semiconductor.
Impurity atoms are atoms of a different element than the atoms of the intrinsic
semiconductor. Impurity atoms act as either donors or acceptors to the intrinsic
semiconductor, changing the electron and hole concentrations of the semiconductor.
Impurity atoms are classified as donor or acceptor atoms based on the effect they have on
the intrinsic semiconductor.
2.4.1 N-Type Semiconductor
Extrinsic semiconductors with a larger electron concentration than hole concentration are
known as n-type semiconductors. Both pure silicon and germanium may be converted
into N-type semiconductors by "doping" it with any donor impurity having 5 valence
electrons in their outer shell (pentavalent atoms) such as:
÷ Antimony (sb, atomic number =51).
÷ Phosphorus (P, atomic number = 15).
÷ Arsenic (As, atomic number =33).
Such impurities are called donor or n-type impurities. Because these materials give or
donate one electron to the doped material, they are also called DONOR impurities, the
electrons are considered MAJORITY carriers, while the holes, being few in number, are
the MINORITY carriers. For example, when arsenic (AS) is added to germanium (GE),
it will form covalent bonds with the germanium atoms. The figure below illustrates this
by showing AS atom (AS) in a GE lattice structure. Notice the arsenic atom in the center
of the lattice. It has 5 valence electrons in its outer shell but uses only 4 of them to form
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covalent bonds with the germanium atoms, leaving 1 electron relatively free in the crystal
structure.


Germanium crystal doped with arsenic. Silicon crystal doped with antimony.
Fig. 2.5

2.4.2 P-Type Semiconductor
As opposed to n-type semiconductors, p-type semiconductors have a larger hole
concentration than electron concentration. In p-type semiconductors, holes are the
majority carriers and electrons are the minority carriers. P-type semiconductors are
created by doping an intrinsic semiconductor with acceptor impurities such as:
÷ Aluminum (Al, atomic number=49)
÷ Indium (In, atomic number=49)
÷ Gallium (Ga, atomic number= 31)
÷ Boron (B, atomic number= 5)
These four elements are trivalent impurities. Because these materials accept 1 electron
from the doped material, they are also called ACCEPTOR impurities. Trivalent
(acceptor) impurity elements are used to dope silicon and germanium. In this case, the
impurity is 1 electron short of the required amount of electrons needed to establish
covalent bonds with 4 neighboring atoms. Thus, in a single covalent bond, there will be
only 1 electron instead of 2. This arrangement leaves a hole in that covalent bond. The
Figure below illustrates this theory by showing what happens when germanium is doped
with an indium (In) atom.
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Germanium crystal doped with indium Silicon crystal doped with Boron
Fig. 2.6

Note that a hole carrier is not created by the removal of an electron from a neutral atom,
but is created when a trivalent impurity enters into covalent bonds with a tetravalent (4
valence electrons) crystal structure.
Notice in both n-type and p-type materials, current flow in the external circuit consists of
electrons moving out of the negative terminal of the battery and into the positive terminal
of the battery. Hole flow, on the other hand, only exists within the material itself.
2.4.3 Conduction in n-type semiconductors
Conduction in the n-type semiconductor, or crystal, is similar to conduction in a copper
wire. That is, with voltage applied across the material, electrons will move through the
crystal just as current would flow in a copper wire. The positive potential of a battery will
attract the free electrons in the crystal. These electrons will leave the crystal and flow into
the positive terminal of the battery. As an electron leaves the crystal, an electron from the
negative terminal of the battery will enter the crystal, thus completing the current path.
Therefore, the majority current carriers in the n-type material (electrons) are repelled by
the negative side of the battery and move through the crystal toward the positive side of
the battery.
The addition of donor impurities contributes electron energy levels high in the
semiconductor band gap so that electrons can be easily excited into the conduction band.
This shifts the effective Fermi level to a point about halfway between the donor levels
and the conduction band.
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Electrons can be elevated to the conduction band
with the energy provided by an applied voltage and
move through the material.
Fig. 2.7

2.4.4 Conduction in p-type semiconductors
Current flow in the p-type Material is by positive holes, instead of negative electrons.
A hole moves from the positive terminal of the p-material to the negative terminal.
Electrons from the external circuit enter the negative terminal of the material and fill
holes in the vicinity of this terminal. At the positive terminal, electrons are removed from
the covalent bonds, thus creating new holes. This process continues as the steady stream
of holes (hole current) moves toward the negative terminal.
The addition of acceptor impurities contributes hole levels low in the semiconductor band
gap so that electrons can be easily excited from the valence band into these levels,
leaving mobile holes in the valence band. This shifts the effective Fermi level to a point
about halfway between the acceptor levels and the valence band.

Electrons can be elevated from the valence band to
the holes in the band gap with the energy provided
by an applied voltage. Since electrons can be
exchanged between the holes, the holes are said to
be mobile.
Fig. 2.8

2.4.5 Extrinsic Carrier Concentration
Let N
d
is the concentration of donor atoms and N
A
is the concentration of acceptor atoms.
To keep the electric neutrality compensated, the total positive charge must equal the
concentration of negative charges:
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N
D
+ p = N
A
+ n (2.5)
In n-type semiconductor:
N
A
= 0
and since n >>p then
N
D
≈ n (2.6)
From (2.1)

(2.7)
Similar, in p-type semiconductor
N
D
= 0
and since p >>n
N
A
≈ p (2.8)
so

(2.9)

2.5 Temperature effect
Temperature causes electrons to be promoted to the conduction band. The dependence of
conductivity on temperature is like other thermally activated processes:
n
i
2
= A
0
T
3
exp(–E
g
/kT) (2.10)
where A
0
is a constant independent of temperature. T is temperature in Keliven, E
g
is the
energy gap (Given in Table 2.2), K is Boltzamann constant (8.620 x 10
-5
eV/K).



Table 2.2 Band gap of Si and Ge
E
g
at 0 k (eV) E
g
at 300 k (eV)
Silicon 1.16 1.12
Germanium 0.74 0.66

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2.5.1 Temperature effect on intrinsic semiconductors
The intrinsic carrier concentration is the number of electrons in the conduction band or
the number of holes in the valence band in intrinsic material. This number of carriers
depends on the band gap of the material and on the temperature of the material. As shown
in Fig. 2.12, the energy bandgap of semiconductors tends to decrease as the temperature
is increased. Therefore, increasing the temperature makes it more likely that an electron
will be excited into the conduction band, which will increase the intrinsic carrier
concentration. This can be clearly seen from (2.10).

Fig. 2.12

2.5.2 Temperature effect on extrinsic semiconductors
When the intrinsic semiconductor is doped, for example, silicon is doped n-type with a
donor concentration N
d
:
- At low temperature (large 1/T), negligible intrinsic electron-hole pairs exist and
the donor electrons are bound to the donor atoms.
- As the temperature is raised, the donor electrons are excited to the conduction
band leaving behind ionized atoms.
- At a specific temperature called critical temperature, all the donor atoms are
ionized. This temperature range is called ionization region. At this region, the
conduction band electron concentration is n = N
D
, since one electron is obtained
from each donor atom.
- When all the donor extrinsic electrons are transferred to the conduction band, the
electron concentration (n) is constant with temperature. The region where every
available dopant has been ionized is called the extrinsic (or saturation) region. In
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this region, an increase in temperature produces no increase in carrier
concentration.
-
At higher temperature, the intrinsic electrons are also excited and move to the
conduction band and n
i
>> N
D
. At this stage the intrinsic carriers dominate.

0 2 4 6 8 10 12
Extrinsic
Intrinsic
Ionization
1000/T (K)
-1
10
11
10
13
10
12
10
17
10
16
10
15
10
14
n
0
(cm
-1
)

Fig. 2.13

In summary, with the increase of temperature, the concentration of minority
carriers starts increasing. Eventually, a temperature is reached called the critical
temperature when the number of covalent bonds that are broken is very large
and the number of holes is approximately equal to number of electrons. The
extrinsic semiconductor now behaves essentially like an intrinsic semiconductor.

2.5.3 Temperature Dependence of Conductivity for a Semiconductor
Remember that Equation (1.9) shows that conductivity depends on both carrier
concentration and mobility. Thus, it is important to view the conductivity as a function of
temperature which is expressed by:
( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
| |
o µ µ = + q T n T T p T
n p

However, the mobility of the carriers in a semiconductor is also influenced by the
presence of charged impurities. Impurity scattering is caused by crystal defects such as
ionized impurities. At lower temperatures, carriers move more slowly, so there is more
time for them to interact with charged impurities. As a result, as the temperature
decreases, impurity scattering increases, and the mobility decreases. This is just the
opposite of the effect of lattice scattering.

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Intrinsic semiconductors become better conductors as the temperature increases; the
electrons are bumped to the conduction energy band by thermal energy, where they flow
freely and in doing so leave behind holes in the valence band which also flow freely. The
electric resistance of a typical intrinsic (non-doped) semiconductor decreases
exponentially with the temperature.
Extrinsic (doped) semiconductors have a far more complicated temperature profile. As
temperature increases starting from absolute zero they first decrease steeply in resistance
as the carriers leave the donors or acceptors. After most of the donors or acceptors have
lost their carriers the resistance starts to increase again slightly due to the reducing
mobility of carriers (much as in a metal). At higher temperatures it will behave like
intrinsic semiconductors as the carriers from the donors/acceptors become insignificant
compared to the thermally generated carriers.
In summary,
In intrinsic semiconductors: the conductivity increases due to extra electrons in
conduction band.
In extrinsic semiconductors: the conductivity decreases due to increased
resistance due to increase vibrations in the semiconductor.

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2.6 Summary tables

Table 2.1 Intrinsic and extrinsic semiconductors
Property Intrinsic semiconductors Extrinsic semiconductors
Current density J=q E n
i

n
+ µ
p
) J=qE(nµ
n
+ p µ
p
)
Conductivity

μ

μ

μ

μ

Concentration (n
i
) 1.5 x 10
10


Table 2.2 n and p-type semiconductors
n-type semiconductor p-type semiconductor
N
A
=0
N
D
=n

N
D
=0
N
A
=p

Table 2.3 Properties of silicon and germanium
Properties Si Ge
Atoms/cm
3
5.0 x 10
22
4.42 x 10
22

Atomic Weight 28.09 72.60
Energy Gap at 300K (eV) 1.12 0.66
Intrinsic Resistivity (ohm-cm) 2.3 x 10
5
47
Mobility µ
n
, electrons (cm
2
/V-s) 1500 3900
Mobility µ
p
, holes (cm
2
/V-s) 475 1900
Intrinsic Carrier Concentration (cm
-3
) 1.5 x 10
10
2.4 x 10
13

Source: http://www.siliconfareast.com/sigegaas.htm

Table 2.4 Mobility in silicon for different doping densities
N (cm
-3
) Arsenic Phosphorous Boron
10
15
1359 1362 462
10
16
1177 1184 429
10
17
727 721 317
10
18
284 277 153
10
19
108 115 71

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Chapter (3)
3 Diodes
Diode is a semiconductor device which permits charge to flow in only one direction. It is
the oldest and most widely used of electronic devices. Figure 3.1 shows the typical diode
shape.

Fig. 3.1

Diodes only allow electricity to flow in one direction through them. The conventional
current through a diode is in the direction from the anode toward the cathode. When
current is in this direction, Fig. 3.2a, the diode is said to be forward biased and operating
in its forward region. Since a diode has very little resistance in its forward region, it is
often approximated as a short circuit. If the circuit is connected such that the direction of
current is from the cathode to the anode (Fig. 3.2b), the diode is reverse biased and
operating in its reverse region. Due to the high resistance of a reverse-biased diode, it is
often approximated as an open circuit.


a) Forward-biased diode b) Reversed-biased diode
Fig. 3.2

3.1 The pn junction
The diode is fabricated of a semiconductor material, like silicon, which is doped with two
impurities. One side is doped with a donor or n-type impurity which releases electrons
Anode Cathode
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into the semiconductor lattice. The other side is doped with an acceptor or p-type
impurity which imparts free holes into the lattice. The device has two terminals, labeled
anode (p-type) and cathode (n-type).


Fig. 3.3
3.1.1 P-n junction under open-circuit condition
÷ We first consider the pn junction with no external voltage applied. The majority
carriers (holes) in the p-side move out or diffuse across the junction to the n-side
leaving negative ions. On the same way, the electrons (majority carriers in n-side)
diffuse across the junction from n-side to p-side leaving behind positive ions.
These two currents form the diffusion current I
D
.

Fig. 3.4 Open-circuit condition

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÷ At the junction, some holes that diffuse from the p-side recombine with the
electrons and thus disappear from scene. In the same manner, some electrons that
diffuse from n-side recombine with holes in p-side and these electrons disappear.
The junction is called depletion region because it is depleted of free electrons and
holes. Its width is typically less than 1 µm.

÷ The holes diffusing to the n region leave behind in the p region negatively
charged acceptor ions. Likewise, the electrons diffusing to the p region leave
behind positively charged donor ions in the n region. Therefore, a potential
difference is built up across the depletion region; the n region is positive with
respect to the p region. This is the barrier potential or built-in voltage. Because of
this voltage, an electric field is developed across the depletion region that causes a
hole drift current from the n region to the p region, and an electric drift current
from the p region to the n region.

÷ At equilibrium the total junction current must be zero, such that the drift current is
equal to the diffusion current. On other wards, the drift current must exactly
cancel the diffusion current of each type of carriers:
I
D(p)
+ I
s(p)
= 0
I
D(n)
+ I
s(n)
= 0
or in general,
I
D
= I
s

This equilibrium state is maintained by V
0
.
3.1.2 The pn junction under forward-biased condition
The potential barrier V
0
must be overcome by an external voltage source to make the
junction conduct. When a positive terminal voltage is applied (the diode is forward-
biased), the potential barrier is reduced forcing the majority carriers to move to both sides
(holes move from p-side to n-side and electrons move from n-side to p-side). This
movement produces less charge in the depletion region and decreases its width (see Fig.
3.7). At the steady state (equilibrium state) we have I = I
s
– I
D
.
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Fig. 3.5 Forward-biased diode

This makes easier for holes in the p-type region to cross the junction and for electrons in
the n-type region to cross the junction in the opposite direction. As the forward bias
voltage is increased, the current through the junction becomes greater. When the applied
voltage V approaches V
0
, the potential hill is almost removed. There is then little
opposition to the flow of carriers across the junction and a large current can flow through
the diode.
3.1.3 The pn junction under reversed-biased condition
When a negative terminal voltage is applied (the diode is reversed-biased), the negative
potential attracts the holes away from the edge of the junction on the p side, while the
positive potential attracts the electrons away from the edge of the junction on the n side.
This action increases both the depletion region width and the barrier voltage (see Fig.
3.7). This decreases the diffusion current (current flow across the junction by majority
carriers). Since the drift current is independent of the barrier voltage, it remains constant.
However, the current flow across the barrier is not quite zero because of the minority
carriers crossing the junction. Finally, a steady state (equilibrium state) will be reached,
and since
I
s
– I
D
= I
because I
D
is too small thus I ≈ I
s
.
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(a) (b)
Fig. 3.6 Depletion region with a) reversed and b) forward -biased diode


Fig. 3.7 Reversed-biased diode

3.1.4 Terminal characteristics of junction diode
Fig. 3.8 shows the i-v characteristics of silicon diode. As indicated, the diodes are
nonlinear devices unlike resistors that follow ohm’s law linear relationship. The diode
current is given by:


A (3.1)
where
I
s
: the reverse saturation current. It is temperature dependence.
V
D
: diode terminal voltage
Empirical constant. It equals 1 for Germanium and 2 for silicon
K : Boltzmann constant (1.38 x 10
-23
J/K)
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T : Temperature of the junction in Kelvin
q: electron charge (1.6 x 10
-19
C)

The diode voltage V
D
can be positive or negative. Based on that the characteristics curve
of diode consists of three regions:
1. The forward-bias region, determined by V
D
> 0.
2. The reversed-bias region, determined by V
D
< 0.
3. The breakdown region, determined by V
D
< v
zk


Fig. 3.8

1. When V
D
is positive and greater than KT/q (KT/q = 0.0259 V at room temperature,
T =293 K), the exponential term is much greater than the unity. The current thus
increases exponentially with forward biased. In the case of a silicon diode a
measurable current flows when the voltage approaches 0.6 V. As the voltage
increases past 0.6 V, current increases considerably after the knee. Increasing the
voltage well beyond 0.7 V may result in high enough current to destroy the diode.
The forward voltage, V
F
, is a characteristic of the semiconductor: 0.6 to 0.7 V for
silicon, 0.2 V for germanium.

2. When V
D
is negative (reverse bias), the exponential term approaches zero and the
current is -i
s,
which is from n to p side direction. This negative current is called
reverse saturation current. It is small current in order of µA.

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3. When the applied negative voltage is increased and reaches a critical value called
breakdown or avalanche voltage (V
zk
), the reverse current increases sharply
because by increasing the voltage, the electrons and holes get so much energy. In
most diodes the breakdown voltage is very high except the zener diodes that have
low breakdown voltage.

3.2 Modeling the Diode forward characteristics
The analysis of the diode circuits can be done using three types of models:
1. Ideal diode model: it is the fastest model useful for rapid calculations.
2. Piecewise-linear model: it is more simplified and approximated model.
3. Constant voltage-drop model
4. Small signal analysis
5. Load line analysis: It’s a graphical analysis performed by plotting the relationship
of i-v curve. This kind of analysis is practical for complex circuits.
3.2.1 Ideal diode model
The ideal diode is a perfect two-state device that exhibits zero impedance when forward-
biased and infinite impedance when reverse-biased. Note that since either current or
voltage is zero at any instant, no power is dissipated by an ideal diode. In many circuit
applications, diode forward voltage drops and reverse currents are small compared to
other circuit variables; then, sufficiently accurate results are obtained if the actual diode is
modeled as ideal.

Fig. 3.9

The ideal diode analysis procedure is as follows:
Step 1: Assume forward bias, and replace the ideal diode with a short circuit.
Step 2: Evaluate the diode current i
D
, using any linear circuit-analysis technique.
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Step 3: If i
D
≥ 0, the diode is actually forward-biased, the analysis is valid, and step 4 is to
be omitted.
Step 4: If i
D
< 0, the analysis so far is invalid. Replace the diode with an open circuit,
forcing i
D
= 0, and solve for the desired circuit quantities using any method of circuit
analysis. Voltage v
D
must be found to have a negative value.
Example 3.1: Find voltage v
L
in the circuit of Fig. 3.10, where the diode is an ideal diode.

Fig. 3.10


Solution:
The analysis is simplified if a Thevenin equivalent is found for the circuit to the left of
terminals a; b; the result is

(3.2)


(a) (b)
Fig. 3.11
and

(3.3)
Step 1: After replacing the network to the left of terminals a; b with the Thevenin
equivalent, assume forward bias and replace diode D with a short circuit, as in Fig. 3.9a.
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Step 2: By Ohm’s law,

(3.4)
Step 3: If v
S
≥ 0, then i
D
≥ 0 and

(3.5)
Step 4: If v
S
< 0, then i
D
< 0 and the result of step 3 is invalid. Diode D must be replaced
by an open circuit as illustrated in Fig. 3.9b, and the analysis performed again. Since now
i
D
= 0, v
L
=i
D
R
L
= 0. Since v
D
= v
S
< 0, the reverse bias of the diode is verified.
Example 3.2
In the circuit shown in Fig. 3.10, consider v
s
= 6V and R
1
= R
S
= R
L
= 500 Ω. Determine
i
D
and v
L
. Assume D is ideal diode.
Solution
Following the same steps illustrated in example 3.1:

also

Step 1: Assuming forward bias and replacing diode D with a short circuit, as in Fig.
3.11a.
Step 2: By Ohm’s law,

Step 3: since v
S
≥ 0, then i
D
≥ 0 thus the diode is indeed forward biased and

3.2.2 Piecewise linear model
In mathematics, “piecewise” means taking a function and breaking it down into several
linear segments. This method is used to approximate the diode characteristic curve as a
series of linear segments. The real diode is modeled as 2 components in series: an ideal
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diode, a voltage source and a resistor. The figure below shows a real diode I-V curve
being approximated by a two-segment piecewise linear model.

Fig. 3.12

In the simplest model, shown Fig. 3.13, when v
D
is less than vᵧ, the current i
D
is zero.
once v
D
is increased to be larger than vᵧ the current i
D
starts to flow. From Fig. 3.12 the
curve consists of two lines:
÷ At line 1, for v
D
≥ vᵧ

(

) (3.6)
The diode is on or forward-biased and it is replaced by

in series with R
f
as
shown in Fig.3.13a.
÷ At line 2, i
D
= 0 for v
D
≤ vᵧ. The diode is off and it’s replaced by either an open
circuit or a high resistor R
f
(in order of kΩ) (Fig. 3.13b).

Fig. 3.13 a) Forward (or on state) and b) reversed biased (off state) model


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Example 3.4
Determine the current i
D
and the diode voltage v
D
for the circuit in Fig. 3.14 with R = 1 k
Ω , V
DD
=5 V, vᵧ = 0.65 V, R
f
= 20 Ω. Use the piecewise linear model. Assume the diode
has a current of 1 mA at a voltage 0.7 V, and the voltage changes by 0.1 V for every
decade change in current.

Fig. 3.14
Solution
We replace the diode by the circuit in Fig. 3.15 with the equivalent model shown in Fig.
3.13a. We can write i
D
,

Fig. 3.15

The diode voltage v
D
can be computed as

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3.2.3 Constant-Voltage-Drop model
Another more simple approximation can be performed on the rise-part of the exponential
curve as shown in Fig. 3.16. The result is simple model that says that the diode is
modeled by its voltage drop in the forward-biased. This model is often used in the initial
analysis and design of circuits.

Fig. 3.16

Fig. 3.17



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Example 3.5
For the circuit shown in Fig. 3.18 use the constant voltage drop model to compute I
D
.
V
D
=0.6 V.

Fig. 3.18
Solution
Since 10V source is forcing positive current through diode assume diode is on. In the
forward-biased we use the model shown in Fig. 3.17.

Fig. 3.19
3.2.4 Small-signal technique
The diode analysis so far has focused only on dc signals. We must also consider the
application of diodes in circuits with time varying signals. The concept behind small-
signal operation is that a time varying signal with small amplitude rides on a dc value that
may or may not be large.
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Fig. 3.20

The analysis of the circuit is divided into two parts:
1- dc bias or signal
2- ac signal of small amplitude
The solutions are added together. To illustrate the small-signal model consider the circuit
shown in Fig. 3.21. v
d
(t) is varying waveform such as a sinusoid or triangle signal.

Fig. 3.21

÷ The total voltage at any time t is the sum of the dc and ac components:

(3.8)

where the dc voltage v
D
causes a dc current I
D
to flow:


(3.7)

and the total current

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From (3.7)


(3.9)

Mathematically, this exponential term can be expanded using

(3.10)

At room temperature (20 ºC=293 K), ⁄ =25 mV. When the amplitude of v
d
(t) is
smaller than 50 mV, we have

(3.11)

Thus, we can truncate the series (3.10) to two terms:


Substituting in (3.9)

(

)

(3.12)
We can see from (3.12) that the current i
D
is the sum of the dc and ac currents. The ac
current is

(3.13)
So we linearized the problem by limiting the ac part of v
d
to small signal. However

(3.14)
r
d
is called the diode small-signal resistance. Therefore, the small-signal model allows
one to separate the dc analysis from the signal analysis. For example, for the circuit
shown in Fig. 3.22, applying the small signal analysis consists of the following steps:
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Page 45 of 71


Fig. 3.22

1. Eliminate all ac sources and replace the diode by its equivalent circuit model
given in Fig. 3.23. Then, compute I
D
and V
D
.

Fig. 3.23

2. Eliminate all dc sources and replace the diode with its small signal resistance r
d

(given by (3.14)). Then compute v
d
.
3. The total current i
D
and v
D
are obtained using (3.12) and (3.8) respectively.
Example 3.6
For the circuit shown in Fig. 3.24, find the small signal values of the output voltage and
the diode current for a 50-mV incremental input and R = 1kΩ, V
D0
= 0.6 V.


Fig. 3.24
Solution
1) We start by drawing the dc sub-circuit to determine I
D
and V
D
. The result is
shown in Fig. 3.25a.
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(a) (b)
Fig. 3.25

v
o
= 0.6 V
2) Next we draw the circuit for the incremental or ac voltage source (Fig. 3.25b),
with

The output voltage is

3) Now, the diode voltage is 0.28 mV plus 0.6 V which equals 0.60028V.

3.2.5 Graphical or Load line analysis
It’s important to remember that although a diode characteristic curve is non-linear and
non-ohmic, so that it doesn’t abide by Ohm’s law throughout its entire length, it does
follow Ohm’s law at any particular point on the curve.

Fig. 3.26
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Consider the circuit shown in Fig. 3.26. The I
D
current in function of V
D
is given by:

(3.15)

The other equation is obtained from the circuit in Fig. 3.26

Or

(3.16)

This is an equation of straight line with a slop of (-1/R). It intersects the y-axis at V
DD
and
x-axis at (V
DD
/R). Moreover, the intersection of this line with the diode curve given in
(3.16) occurs in the operating point (point Q) as shown in Fig.3.27. This point Q gives
the unknowns I
D
and V
D
.


Fig. 3.27

Example 3.7
In the circuit given in Fig. 3.26 consider V
DD
= 5 V, R= 1kΩ, I
s
=10
-15
A and η=1. Find I
D

and V
D
.
Solution
By drawing the characteristic curve given by (3.15) and the straight line given by (3.16),
the obtained cross point of both curves (point Q) is: I
D
= 4.25 mA and V
D
= 0.7446 V.
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Fig. 3.28

Another way to solve the same problem is called alternative analysis.
Step 1: Assume V
D
= 0.7 V.

(3.17)
This value is substituted in:

(

)

(3.18)

(

)
Step 2: Now, we use V
D1
in (3.17) to compute I
D2
:

Using this value in (3.18) to calculate V
D2
:

(

)
Since these values are not so much difference from the values obtained from the first
iteration, no further iterations are necessary. Thus the result is I
D
= 4.2728 mA and V
D
=
0.7271 V.
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 5
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
3.5
4
4.5
x 10
-3
X: 0.7446
Y: 0.004255
VD
I
D
Point Q
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3.3 Operation in the reverse breakdown region (Zener diodes)
A conventional solid-state diode will not let current flow up to its breakdown voltage if
reverse-biased. Most diodes have high breakdown voltage (≥ 50 V). By exceeding the
breakdown voltage, these diodes are destroyed during breakdown due to excess current
and overheating.
A zener diode: is silicon diode made especially to have a low breakdown voltage. In
other words, it is designed to operate in reverse conduction. However, zener diode
contains a heavily doped pn junction allowing electrons to tunnel from the valence band
of the p-type material to the conduction band of the n-type material.
When a pn-junction diode is reverse-biased, the majority carriers (holes in the p-material
and electrons in the n-material) move away from the junction. The barrier or depletion
region becomes wider, as illustrated in Fig. 3.29, and majority carrier current flow
becomes very difficult across the high resistance of the wide depletion region.

Fig. 3.29

The presence of minority carriers causes a small leakage current that remains nearly
constant for all reverse voltages up to a certain value. Once this value has been exceeded,
there is a sudden increase in the reverse current. The voltage at which the sudden increase
in current occurs is called the breakdown voltage. At breakdown, the reverse current
increases very rapidly with a slight increase in the reverse voltage. Any diode can be
reverse biased to the point of breakdown, but not every diode can safely dissipate the
power associated with breakdown. A zener diode is a pn junction designed to operate in
the reverse-bias breakdown region.
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Fig. 3.30

Fig. 3.30 shows the reverse breakdown characteristic curve. Two things happen when the
reverse breakdown voltage, (V
zk
) is reached:
1) The diode current increases dramatically.
2) The reverse voltage across the diode V
zk
remains relatively constant.
This means that the voltage across the diode is relatively constant over a wide range of
device current values. This makes the zener diode a good voltage regulator. A voltage
regulator is the circuit designed to maintain a constant voltage regardless of minor
variations in load current or input voltage. The symbol of the zener diode is shown in Fig.
3. 31. For this device current flows when the cathode is more positive than the anode.


Fig. 3.31

3.3.1 The pn junction of zener diode
There are two distinct theories used to explain the behavior of pn junctions during
breakdown: one is the zener effect and the other is the avalanche effect. The zener effect
accounts for the breakdown below 5 volts; whereas, above 5 volts the breakdown is
caused by the avalanche effect.
i
z

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Fig. 3.32

1) The zener effect in semiconductors can be described in terms of energy bands;
however, only the two upper energy bands are of interest. The two upper bands,
illustrated in Fig.3.32, are called the conduction band and the valence band. Fig.
3.32 is an energy diagram of a reverse-biased zener diode. The energy bands of
the p and n materials are naturally at different levels, but reverse bias causes the
valence band of the p material to overlap the energy level of the conduction band
in the n material. Under this condition, the valence electrons of the p material can
cross the extremely thin junction region at the overlap point without acquiring any
additional energy. This action is called tunneling. When the breakdown point of
the pn junction is reached, large numbers of minority carriers “tunnel” across the
junction to form the current that occurs at breakdown.

2) Avalanche effect: the second theory of reverse breakdown effect in diodes is
known as avalanche breakdown and occurs at reverse voltages beyond 5 volts.
This type of breakdown diode has a depletion region that is made narrower than
the depletion region in the normal pn-junction diode, but thicker than that in the
zener-effect diode. The thicker depletion region is achieved by decreasing the
doping level from the level used in zener-effect diodes. The breakdown is at a
higher voltage because of the higher resistivity of the material. Controlling the
doping level of the material during the manufacturing process can produce
breakdown voltages ranging between about 2 and 200 volts.
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Fig.3.33

The mechanism of avalanche breakdown is different from that of the zener effect. In the
depletion region of a pn junction, thermal energy is responsible for the formation of
electron-hole pairs. The leakage current is caused by the movement of minority electrons,
which is accelerated in the electric field across the barrier region. As the reverse voltage
across the depletion region is increased to reach the breakdown voltage, sufficient energy
is gained by the thermally released minority electrons to enable the electrons to break
covalent bonds as they collide with lattice atoms. The released electrons are also
accelerated by the electric field, resulting in the release of further electrons, and so on, in
a chain or avalanche effect. This process is illustrated in Fig. 3.33.
In summary, the current of the zener diode is due two effects:
÷ zener effect: resulting from the applied voltage being sufficient to break some
covalent bonds. The electrons jump from the valence band of the p-type material
to the conduction band of the n-type material causing a current to flow.
÷ Avalanche effect: resulting from the charge carriers that get sufficient thermal
energy to break down the covalent bonds by collision.
3.3.2 Zener Operating Characteristics
Fig.3.34 shows how a zener diode maintains the near constant reverse voltage for a range
of reverse current values. Note the three currents listed:
1) I
ZK
This is the minimum value of I required to maintain voltage regulation. This is
called the knee current. When a zener diode is used as a voltage regulator, the
current through the diode must never be allowed to drop below I
ZK
.
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Fig. 3.34

2) I
ZT
This is the zener test current. It is the current level at which the V
Z
rating of
the diode was taken. For example, if the diode has V
Z
= 9.1V and I
ZT
= 20 mA,
this means that the diode has a reverse voltage of 9.1V when the test current was
20 mA. At other currents the value of V will vary slightly above or below the
rated value of 9.1V.
3) I
ZM
This is the maximum allowable value of I. Currents above this value will
damage or destroy the diode.

3.3.3 zener diode models
There are two models or equivalent circuits for the zener diode.
3.3.3.1 Ideal or Constant Voltage Drop Model
This model simply considers the zener diode to be equivalent to a voltage source V
Z0
.
Fig. 3.35 shows the i-v characterstic curve of the ideal model. Its almost a straight line.
This model simply considers the zener diode to be equivalent to a voltage source V
zk
as
shown in Fig.3.35. Note that the voltage source opposes the applied circuit voltage.


Fig.3.35

a) b)
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For analyzing the zener diode using this model:
1. We find that if the model voltage v
Z
is less than V
ZK
(i.e., v
Z
<V
ZK
), then the ideal
diode will be in reverse bias, and thus the model current i
Z
will equal zero. In
other words:

Fig. 3.36

2. Likewise, we find that if the model current is positive (i
Z
>0), then the ideal diode
must be forward biased, and thus the model voltage must be v
Z
=V
ZK
. In other
words

That means the zener diode in breakdown.

Fig.3.37

3.3.3.2 Practical Model
The response of the diode below I
ZT
(at point Q) is approximated by a straight line. Its
slope is 1/r
z
as shown in Fig. 3.38. Typically, r
z
is called the dynamic resistance of the
zener, and its value is specified by the manufacture. However, the zener diode is modeled
using r
z
and the voltage at Q point (V
z0
) as shown in Fig.3.38.
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Fig.3.38

The model in Fig. 3.38 can be described analytically by

Example 3.8
Consider the circuit in Fig. 3.39. Assume the zener diode breakdown voltage is V
z
= 5.6
V. Calculate the required resistance R to limit the current in the diode to 3 mA. Let the
zener resistance is r
z
= 0 (ideal diode) and r
z
= 10 Ω.

Fig.3.39
Solution
Using the practical model, the zener diode is replaced by r
z
and V
z
as shown in Fig. The
current cross R is
Fig.3.40
R
D1 Vs
+
Vz
-
I
R
10 V
+
-
I
rz
5.6 V
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Therefore

For r
z
= 5 Ω:

3.4 Applications of Diodes
3.4.1 Rectifier circuits
One of the most important applications of diodes is in the design of rectifier circuits. The
process of obtaining unidirectional currents and voltages for alternating currents and
voltages is called rectification.
We already know that diodes allow current flow in only one direction (ignoring
saturation reverse current and zener current for the time being) and this is one of their
main uses to rectify alternating current (a.c.) voltages into direct current (d.c.) voltages.
The most typical source of a.c. voltage we can think of is the 230 V mains supply to
every home. Most electronic circuits require low d.c. power so we can understand that
rectification is one of the most important uses of diodes. It is the main part of any
electronic equipment such as TVs, radios and computers.
A simple rectifier circuit is shown in Fig.3.41a. Let the input v
i
be the sinusoid and
assume the diode to be ideal. The equivalent circuit of the on and off states are shown in
Fig. 3.41b.


(a) (b)
Fig. 3.41
R1
D1 Vi
R
Vi
R
Vi
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During the positive half-cycles (shown in Fig. 3.42) of the input sinusoid, the
current will flow through the diode in the forward direction and the output voltage v
o

equals to the input voltage. During the negative half-cycle of v
i
, the diode is off and v
o
is
zero.

Fig. 3.42

Thus each half-wave of the ac voltage is rectified and passed to the output. For
this reason, this type of rectification is known as half-wave rectification. Two diodes or
four diodes are used to obtain full-wave rectification as we will discuss in the next
section.
Example 3.8
In Fig. 3.43, consider vi =100 sin ωt, R=500 Ω, Rl =1 kΩ and the diode is ideal. Calculate
the average value of v
L
.


Fig. 3.43
R
vi
D1
Rl
vL
+
-
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Solution
Only one cycle of vi need be considered. For the positive half-cycle, i
D
> 0 and

For the negative half-cycle, the diode is reverse-biased, i
D
= 0, and vL = 0. Hence the
average value of v
L

The input and output signals are shown in Fig. 3.44.

Fig. 3.44
Note
The same circuit shown in Fig. 3.43 can be used to rectify the negative cycle of the input
voltage just by inversing the diode as shown in Figs. 3.45 and 3.46.
Fig. 3.45
R
vi
D1
Rl
vL
+
-
Input signal Output signal
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Fig. 3.46

3.4.1.1 Rectification using transformers
Generally, most home electronic devices don’t use high voltages, so we would use a
transformer to reduce the 230 V a.c. mains supply voltage to about 12 V a.c. The
transformer consists essentially of two coils of wire which are not in electrical contact.
One coil of N
1
turns is called primary winding and the second of N
2
turns is known as
secondary winding. The circuit symbol of a transformer is shown in Fig.3.47.


(a) (b)
Fig.3.47

For an ideal transformer, assuming there is no loss, voltage ratio = turns ratio:

Input signal
Output signal
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If N
2
is less than N
1
then V
2
is less than V
1
and the device is termed a step-down
transformer. If N
1
is less than N
2
then V
1
is less than V
2
and the device is termed a step-up
transformer. In the rectification, the step-down transformer is used.

Fig.3.48

It would obviously give a much steadier d.c. voltage if both half waves of the a.c. voltage
could pass to the load to obtain full wave rectification. We can do this in two ways:
First by using a modified transformer, with a centre-tap to the output or secondary coil
and two diodes as in Fig. 3.49. A centre-tapped transformer is used to give a reference
voltage to the load, about which one of the two ends of the coil must always have a
positive voltage (i.e. if one end is positive the other is negative, if one end is negative the
other must be positive) so each half-wave of the a.c. voltage is rectified and passed to the
load.

Output voltage
Input voltage
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Fig. 3.49

Second, an ordinary transformer may be used with four diodes as shown in Fig. 3.40. The
group of four diodes is often called a bridge rectifier and may consist of four discrete
diodes or can be a single device which contains four diodes in its body.

Fig. 3.40
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3.4.1.2 Rectification using capacitors (capacitor filter)
The output voltage produced by the rectifier circuits discussed above is unsuitable dc
voltages for electronic circuits. A simple way to reduce the variation of the output voltage
is to place a capacitor across the load resistor as shown in Fig. 3.45.

Fig. 3.45

Assuming the input voltage v
I
is a sinusoid with a peak value V
p
and the diode to be ideal.
As v
I
goes positive, the diode is on and the capacitor is charged so that v
I =
v
o
. This
situation continues until v
I
reaches its peak value V
p
. As v
I
decreases the diode becomes
reverse biased (switched off) and the capacitor starts to discharge. Hence the output
voltage remains constant at the value V
p
. Thus the circuit provides a dc voltage output
equal to the peak of the input sine wave.

Fig. 3.46

It is more practical to use a load resistance R in parallel with the capacitor, as depicted in
Fig. 3.47. When the diode switched off, the capacitor discharges through the resistor R.
The discharge will continue for the entire cycle until v
I
exceeds the capacitor charge.
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Then the diode turns on again and charges the capacitor up to the peak of v
I
. During the
diode-off interval, v
o
decrease exponentially with a time constant CR. At the end of the
discharge interval v
o
= V
p
– V
r
, where V
r
is called peak-to-peak ripple voltage. When CR
>> T (the entire period) V
r
is small and v
o
is almost constant.

Fig. 3.47

The rate at which a capacitor discharges is dependent on the value of the capacitor. So, to
make sure the stored voltage doesn’t fall too far in the time between the peaks of the half
cycles, the capacitor should be large enough (typically of the value of thousands of
microfarads) to store enough charge to prevent this happening. Nevertheless a variation
in voltage will always occur, and the extent of this variation is known as the ripple
voltage
3.4.2 Clipping
Diode clipping circuits separate an input signal at a particular dc level and pass to the
output (without distortion) the desired upper or lower portion of the original waveform.
They are used to eliminate amplitude noise or to fabricate new waveforms from an
existing signal. There are different ways of clipping serial and parallel diode clipping.
3.4.2.1 Serial Diode Clipping Circuit
There are two types: In the first type, the voltage source V
m
( positive or negative) is
connected through output terminals as in Fig. 3.48a. Depending on the diode connection
(normal or reverse), the values smaller (Fig.3.38b) or greater (Fig.3.49) than V
m
is
clipped.


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(a) (b)

Fig. 3.48 v
i
=20 sin(120πt) V, R = 500 Ω and V
m
=10 V




(a) (b)

Fig. 3.49 v
i
=20 sin(120πt) V, R = 500 Ω and V
1
=10 V.

In the second type of series clipping, the voltage source is applied between the input and
output terminals, series with the diode. This time, the clipped values are assigned to zero
and the net output voltage equals to the difference between the input and output
(threshold) values (Fig. 3.50). If v
i
is negative (Fig. 3.51), then v
o
= v
i
+ V
m
.




Fig. 3.50 v
i
= 20 sin(120πt) V, R = 500 Ω and V
m
= 10 V.

R
vi
D
+
-
Vm
Vo
R
vi
+
-
Vo
D1
V1
D
R
Vi
Vm
+
Vo
-
v
i

V
m

v
o

v
i

v
o

V
m

v
i

v
i
-V
m

v
o

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Fig. 3.51 v
i
= 20 sin(120πt) V, R = 500 Ω and V
m
= 10 V.
3.4.2.2 Parallel Diode Clipping Circuit
In this type of clippers, the diode is connected between output terminals. The on/off state
of diode directly affects the output voltage. These types of clippers may also have a non-
zero threshold voltage by addition of a voltage series with diode. Following figures
illustrate the clipping process.
4) Zero Threshold Parallel Clippers


Fig. 3.52 v
i
= 20 sin(120πt) V, R
1
= 500 Ω and R
2
= 500 Ω.

5) Zero Threshold Parallel Clippers



Fig. 3.53 v
i
= 20 sin(120πt) V, R
1
= 500 Ω and R
2
= 500 Ω.




D
R
Vi
Vm
+
Vo
-
R1
R2
vi D
R1
R2
vi
D
v
i

v
i

v
o

v
o

v
i

v
i
+V
m

v
o

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6) Positive threshold Parallel Clippers


Fig. 3.54 v
i
= 20 sin(120πt) V, V
1
= 10 V, R
1
= 500 Ω and R
2
= 1 kΩ.


7) Negative threshold Parallel Clippers



Fig. 3.55 v
i
= 20 sin(120πt) V, V
1
= 10 V, R
1
= 500 Ω and R
2
= 1 kΩ.

3.4.2.3 Clipping using zener diodes
Back-to-back zener diodes, as shown in Fig. 3.56, are frequently used to clip or remove
voltage spikes. In this circuit, limiting occurs in the positive direction at a voltage
V
z2
+0.7, where 0.7 V represents the voltage drop across zener diode Z
1
when conducting
in the forward direction. For negative inputs, Z
1
acts as zener, while Z
2
conducts in the
forward direction. This circuit is called double-anode zener.


Fig. 3.56 V
1
= 20 sin(120πt) V, R1 = 500 Ω and R2 = 500 Ω.

R1
R2
vi
D
V1
+
-
Vo
R1
R2
vi
D
V1
+
-
Vo
R1
R2
Z1
Z2
V1
+
vo
-
v
o

v
i

v
o

v
i

v
o

v
i

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3.4.3 Applications of clipping circuits
Clipping circuits are used in applications where an input voltage should not be allowed to
exceed a maximum value. A typical one is the speech processing for communications
(radio) applications. The process of clipping raises the overall average speech power
level. It's a crude form of audio compression.
3.4.4 Clamping
Clamping is a process of setting the positive or negative peaks of an input ac waveform to
a specific dc level, regardless of any variation in those peaks. In other words, clampers
are used to change the dc level of a signal to a desired value.

Fig. 3.57

Clamping circuits are different from clippers, they use a capacitor and a diode
connection. When the diode is in its on state, the output voltage equals to diode drop
voltage (ideally zero) plus the voltage source, if any.

3.4.4.1 Zero clamping
An ideal clamping circuit is shown in Fig. 3.58b. Assuming the input voltage v
i
is a
triangular ac waveform (Fig. 3.58a). The capacitor C is initially uncharged, the ideal
diode D is forward-biased for 0 < t ≤ T/4, and it acts as a short circuit thus v
o
= V
B
.
Then, the capacitor starts charging to V
p
. At t = T/4, the diode D open-circuits, breaking
the discharge process of the capacitor. At t > T/4 D remains reverse-biased, giving v
o
=
v
i
- V
p
. The output v
o
is sketched in Fig. 3.58c; all positive peaks are clamped at zero
level, and the average value is shifted from 0 to -V
p
.

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a) Input signal (v
i
) b) ideal clamping circuit

c) Output signal (v
o
)
Fig. 3.58
3.4.4.2 Negative clamping
Consider a negative clamping circuit Fig. 3.59, a circuit that shifts the original signal in a
vertical downward direction. The sinusoidal input signal is clamped to V
m
. Initially the
capacitor is uncharged (v
c
= 0 V) so the output voltage v
o
= V
m
= 5 V.



Fig. 3.59 v
i
= 10 sin (120πt) V, V
m
= 5 V, and C = 10 µF
During the positive half cycle of input, the diode is forward biased, allowing the capacitor
to charge to near the peak of the input and just after the negative peak, the diode is
C
vi
Vm
D
v
o

v
i

v
i
V
m
-v
i
-(2v
i
-V
m
)

+
v
o
-
-
-

-
-
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reverse biased. The capacitor can only discharge. So, from the peak of one negative half
cycle to the next, the capacitor discharges very little. Thus during negative input, the
output voltage will be the sum of the input voltage and the capacitor voltage and is equal
to -v
i
- (v
i
- V
m
) or (2v
i
- V
m
). In that case, the lowest output voltage will be “clamped” at
V
m
.
Note that, without the diode present in this circuit, the capacitor would not retain any net
charge per period so it would never “charge up” to 10 V. In addition, the effect of the
clamping action is that the capacitor retains a charge approximately equal to the peak
value of the input less the diode drop. The capacitor voltage acts essentially as a battery
in series with the input voltage. The dc voltage of the capacitor adds to the input voltage
by superposition.
3.4.4.3 Positive clamping
The circuit in figure 3.60 can be modified to a positive clamping circuit by reconnecting
the diode with reversed polarity. The positive clamping circuit moves the original signal
in a vertical upward direction. A positive clamping circuit is shown in the figure below. It
contains a diode D and a capacitor C as are contained in a negative clamper. The only
difference in the circuit is that the polarity of the diode is reversed. The remaining
explanation regarding the working of the circuit is the same as it is explained for the
negative clamper.


Fig. 3.60 v
i
= 10 sin (120πt) V, V
m
= 5 V, and C = 10 µF

3.4.4.4 Important points about clamping:
The important points regarding clamping circuits are:
1) The shape of the waveform will be the same, but its level is shifted either upward
or downward.
2) There will be no change in the peak-to-peak or rms value of the wave-form due to
the clamping circuit. Thus, the input waveform and output waveform will have
the same peak-to-peak value that is, 2V max.
C
vi
Vm
D
v
o

v
i

2v
i
+V
m

v
i


+
v
o
-
-

-

-
-
Notes of Microelectronics I course (EC310) Dr. Amna Elhawil

Page 70 of 71

3) There will be a change in the peak and average values of the waveform. The
clamped output varies from 2 Vmax and 0 (or 0 and -2Vmax). Thus the peak
value of the clamped output is 2Vmax and average value is Vmax.
3.4.5 Applications of clamping circuits
An application of the clamper circuit is as a “DC restorer” in “composite video” circuitry
in both television transmitters and receivers. The signal that is sent to the TV receiver
may lose the dc components after being passed through capacitively coupled amplifiers.
Thus the signal loses its black and white reference levels and the blanking level. Before
passing these signals to the picture tube, these reference levels have to be restored. This is
done by using clamper circuits. They also find applications in storage counters, analog
frequency meter, capacitance meter, divider and stair-case waveform generator.


Notes of Microelectronics I course (EC310) Dr. Amna Elhawil

Page 71 of 71


4 References
Books
[1] Introduction to Atomic & Nuclear Physics, H. Semat and J.R. Albright, 5
th
edition,1983.
[2] Electrical and Electronic principles and technology, J. Bird ,2ed edition.
[3] Microelectronic Circuits, A. Sedra and K. Smith, 5th edition, 2004.
[4] Principles of Semiconductor Devices, B. Zeghbroeck, 2004.
[5] Electronic Devices and Circuits, J. Cathey, 2ed edition, 2002.
Websites
[1] http://www.docbrown.info/page04/4_71atom.htm
[2] http://www.ece.utep.edu/courses/ee3329/ee3329/Studyguide/ToC/Fundamentals/BDiagra
ms/material.html
[3] http://pveducation.org/pvcdrom/pn-junction/semiconductor-materials
[4] http://pveducation.org/pvcdrom/pn-junction/intrinsic-carrier-concentration.
[5] http://www.tpub.com/content/neets/14179/css/14179_27.htm
[6] http://www.radartutorial.eu/21.semiconductors/hl07.en.html
[7] http://www.ioffe.ru/SVA/NSM/Semicond/Ge/bandstr.html
[8] http://electron1.eng.kuniv.edu.kw/
[9] http://library.thinkquest.org/12666/junction.html
[10] http://www.radartutorial.eu/21.semiconductors/hl11.en.html
[11] http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/tables/rstiv.html
[12] http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/vol_3/chpt_3/7.html