DEPARTMENT OF MECHATRONIC ENGINEERING
EMT 2406: POWER ELECTRONICS
POWER SEMICONDUCTORS DEVICES
If the voltage is applied such that the P type area becomes positive and the N type becomes negative. The reason for this is that the holes are attracted towards the negative potential that is applied to the P type region. One end has an excess of electrons whilst the other has an excess of holes.
The semiconductor diode PN junction with no bias applied Even though the depletion region is very thin. current cannot flow in the normal way. Similarly electrons move towards the positive voltage and jump the depletion layer. In view of the fact that this area is depleted of charge carriers it is known as the depletion region. This means that both ends have different characteristics. Where the two areas meet the electrons fill the holes and there are no free holes or electrons.In its basic form a semiconductor diode is formed from a piece of silicon by making one end P type and the other end N type. they carry opposite charges and as a result they represent a current flow in the same direction. Different effects are noticed dependent upon the way in which the voltage is applied to the junction. holes are attracted towards the negative voltage and are assisted to jump across the depletion layer. Similarly the electrons are attracted towards the positive potential which is applied to the N type region. Even though the holes and electrons are moving in opposite directions. This means that there are no available charge carries in this region. Accordingly no current flows.
The semiconductor diode PN junction with forward bias If the voltage is applied to the semiconductor diode in the opposite sense no current flows. often only few thousandths of a millimetre. In other words the holes and electrons are attracted away from the junction itself and the depletion region increases in width.
This represents the work that is required to enable the charge carriers to cross the depletion layer.The semiconductor diode PN junction with reverse bias
PN junction characteristics
The PN junction is not an ideal rectifier diode having infinite resistance in the reverse direction and no resistance in the forward direction. This voltage varies from one type of semiconductor to another.2 or 0.
.6 volts.6 volts across most small current diodes when they are forward biased.
The characteristic of a diode PN junction In the forward direction (forward biased) it can be seen that very little current flows until a certain voltage has been reached.3 volts and for silicon it is about 0. Power rectifier diodes normally have a larger voltage across them but this is partly due to the fact that there is some resistance in the silicon. For germanium it is around 0. In fact it is possible to measure a voltage of about 0. and partly due to the fact that higher currents are flowing and they are operating further up the curve.
In today's transistors the base may typically be only about 1 mm [micrometre] across. but now that the manufacture of semiconductor materials is very much better the number of minority carriers is much reduced as are the levels of reverse currents. or two may be ptype and one may be n-type. As a result transistor are designated either P-N-P (PNP) types of N-P-N (NPN) types according to the way they are made up. It is also essential that the base region is very thin if the device is to be able to operate.From the diagram it can be seen that a small amount of current flows in the reverse direction (reverse biased). They are arranged so that the two similar layers of the transistor sandwich the layer of the opposite type. and in normal circumstances it is very much smaller than the forward current. However it is worse at higher temperatures and it is also found that germanium is not as good as silicon. The other two connections are called the emitter and collector.. two may be n-type and one p-type. It is the fact that the base region of the transistor is thin that is the key to the operation of the device
. Two of them are doped to give one type of semiconductor and the there is the opposite type. Early semiconductors has relatively high levels of minority carriers.
Basic transistor structure
The transistor is a three terminal device and consists of three distinct layers. It has been exaggerated to show it on the diagram. Typically it may be a pico amps or microamps at the most. These names result from the way in which they either emit or collect the charge carriers.
The centre region is called the base and gains its name from the fact that in the very earliest transistors it formed the "base" for the whole structure. This reverse current results from what are called minority carriers.e. These are a very small number of electrons found in a P type region or holes in an N type region. i.
This means that the collector current is much higher. For most small signal transistors this may be in the region 50 to 500. It is found that when a current is made to flow in the base emitter junction a larger current flows in the collector circuit even though the base collector junction is reverse biased. The same reasoning can be used for a PNP device. The ratio between the collector current and the base current is given the Greek symbol b. This means that the collector current is typically between 50 and 500 times that flowing in the base. the base collector junction is reverse biased. In some cases it can be even higher.
Switching characteristics of a Power Transistor
In a power electronic circuit the power transistor is usually employed as a switch i.e.
Only a small proportion of the electrons from the emitter combine with holes in the base region giving rise to a current in the base-emitter circuit. For a high power transistor the value of b is somewhat less: 20 is a fairly typical value. When current flows through the base emitter junction. For clarity the example of an NPN transistor is taken. One of these. except that holes are the majority carriers instead of electrons.Transistor operation
A transistor can be considered as two P-N junctions placed back to back. However the doping in this region is kept low and there are comparatively few holes available for recombination. attracted by the positive potential. namely the base emitter junction is forward biased. As a result most of the electrons are able to flow right through the base region and on into the collector region. it operates in either “cut off” (switch OFF) or saturation (switch
. whilst the other. electrons leave the emitter and flow into the base.
It has a voltage drop during “ON” condition It carries a small leakage current during OFF condition Switching operation is not instantaneous It requires non zero control power for switching
With no electrical bias applied to the gate G.ON) regions. However. the operating characteristics of a power transistor differs significantly from an ideal controlled switch in the following respects. It can conduct only finite amount of current in one direction when “ON” It can block only a finite voltage in one direction. no current can flow in either direction underneath the gate because there will always be a blocking PN
In MOSFETs. Since MOSFETs cannot be protected by fuses. which is normally “on” device. to inductive kicks going beyond the absolute maximum ratings. Such conditions are likely in almost every application. Rugged devices are made to be more tolerant for overvoltage transients. they have exceptionally fast rise and fall times. which allows electrons to flow from the source to the drain. while bipolar transistors present a more or less constant VCE(sat) over the normal operating range. the electrons are the “majority carriers” by default. Although this inverse diode is relatively fast. Under actual operating conditions. and in bipolars it is IC VCE(sat). When the gate is forward biased with respect to the source S together with an applied drain-source voltage. it has an extremely rugged switching performance. The rugged device can withstand higher levels of diode recovery dv/dt and static dv/dt.. Recent devices have the diode recovery time as low as 100 ns. The need to ruggedize power MOSFETs is related to device reliability. This mode of operation is called “enhancement” but is easier to think of enhancement mode of operation as the device being “normally off”.e. as shown in Figure 2. and there is no minority carrier storage time. the conduction loss will exceed that of bipolars. but at higher currents. therefore. the free hole carriers in the p-epitaxial layer are repelled away from the gate area creating a channel. and thus the current is automatically diverted away from the hot spot. Hence.junction. i. which is present in a bipolar transistor. its chances for failing catastrophically are minimal. If a MOSFET is operating within its specification range at all times. if its absolute maximum rating is exceeded. an electronic protection technique has to be used. Also.
Power MOSFETs are majority carrier devices. a power MOSFET may have a lower conduction loss than a comparable bipolar device. failure probability increases dramatically. Thus. and as a result. Ruggedness is the ability of a MOSFET to operate in an environment of dynamic electrical stresses. With the advancement in MOS technology. a MOSFET may be subjected to transients—either externally from the power bus supplying the circuit or from the circuit itself due. for example. At low currents. The opposite is depletion mode. An important feature of a power MOSFET is the absence of a secondary breakdown effect. RDS (on) increases with temperature. it is slow by comparison with the MOSFET. without activating any of the parasitic bipolar junction transistors. ruggedized MOSFETs are replacing the conventional MOSFETs. power MOSFETs will not support voltage in the reverse direction. The drain body junction appears as an antiparallel diode between source and drain. and in most cases are beyond a designer’s control. Power dissipation in MOSFETs is Id 2 RDS(on) . They are essentially resistive devices when turned on. the switch blocks the current until it receives a signal to turn on. the RDS(on) increases with temperature.
. Note that since the holes have been repelled from the gate channel. However.
No gate current can flow into the gate after the small gate oxide capacitance has been charged. The channel depth is proportional to the gate voltage and pinches closed as soon as the gate voltage is removed. 2. so there is no storage time effect as occurs in transis tors. Fast switching speeds because electrons can start to flow from drain to source as soon as the channel opens. Low gate signal power requirement.The advantages of the lateral MOSFET are: 1.
Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT)
However a closer look reveals a p+ substrate rather than an n+ substrate. To further analyze this structure we use the equivalent circuit.The Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor or IGBT for short combines the high dc current gain of a MOSFET with the high current handling capability and high blocking voltage of a BJT in a surprisingly simple structure such as the one shown in Figure 7. The control terminal of the SCR is named the gate and it is connected to the p-type layer located next to the cathode. One should note that the p-type collector of the pnp BJT and the ntype source of the nMOSFET share the same metal contact.
. The electrons originating from the n+ source flow laterally underneath the gate and then flow down in the buried n-type region. which is the n-type base of the pnp BJT. which contains the pnp BJT as formed by the bottom three layers as well as the nMOSFET underneath the gate electrode.3. thereby supplying the gate current of the pnp BJT. that the drain region of the nMOSFET is the buried n-type layer.
Structure of a thyristor The thyristor consists of a four layer p-n-p-n structure with the outer layers are referred to as the anode (n-type) and cathode (n-type). Also. Since the gate current is provided locally. Note that under typical operation the collector would be grounded while the positive voltage is applied to the emitter.8. the emitter current will be concentrated around the same area. At first glance. Therefore this device can be connected in a switching circuit just like an npn BJT with the important distinction that no gate current is required to maintain the on-state current. the vertical structure looks like that of a regular bipolar transistor structure.
In operation the SCR may be considered as two back to back transistors. The anode of the SCR or silicon controlled rectifier is usually bonded to the package since the gate terminal is near the cathode and needs to be connected separately.
. One is the voltage. thermal considerations are of paramount importance. This is also thicker than the other layers and these two factors enable a large blocking voltage to be supported. The transistor with its emitter connected to the cathode of the thyristor is a n-p-n device whereas the transistor with its emitter connected to the anode of the SCR is a p-n-p variety. In view of the very high currents and power levels that some thyristors are used to switch. The lowest doping level is within the central n type layer. There are two main reasons for this. Thinner layers would mean that the device would break down at lower voltages.The level of doping varies between the different layers of the thyristor. the external heat-sinking considerations for the thyristor must be carefully implemented otherwise the device may overheat and fail. and secondly silicon technology is well developed and very cheap to use. Apart from the internal considerations. current and thermal handling properties of silicon enable it to meet the requirements of the power industry. The gate and anode are the next heavily doped. The gate is connected to the base of the n-p-n transistor. This is accomplished in such a way that heat is removed from the silicon to the package. Thyristors are usually manufactured from silicon. The cathode is the most heavily doped.
it quickly builds up until both transistors are fully turned on or saturated. causing its "on" state to be maintained. the cathode of the whole device. The output of one transistor fed to the input of the second.
. Again this will now try to pull the voltage on the collector of TR1 towards its emitter voltage.e. Once switched on. When this occurs it will cause the collector of TR2 to fall towards the voltage on the emitter. this will turn "on" the transistor TR2. In this way it only requires a small trigger pulse on the gate to turn the thyristor on. When this occurs it will cause current to flow through the base of TR1 and turn this transistor "on". the thyristor can only be turned off by removing the supply voltage. This means that when a current starts to flow. As a result it can be seen that the total current gain of the device exceeds one. When a voltage is applied across a thyristor no current flows because neither transistor is conducting. In turn the output of the second transistor is fed back to the input of the first. If a small current is passed through the gate electrode.This arrangement forms a positive feedback loop within the thyristor. i. As a result there is no complete path across the device. This will cause current to flow in the emitter of TR2.