You are on page 1of 5

ELECTRONICS ELM 01551 Laboratory

Faculty of Microsystem Electronics and Photonics Wroclaw University of Technology

Experiment no.2 Semiconductor diodes. The I-U diode characteristics.

1. Basic informations
1.1 I-U characteristics of a p-n diode Typical current-voltage (I-U) characteristics of p-n diodes are presented in Fig.1 and Fig.2.

Fig.1 A typical I-U characteristic of the p-n diode.

Fig.2 Comparison of Ge and Si diodes I-U curves at forward bias.

The Shockley equation gives I-U dependence for an ideal p-n junction:
I I S exp
Dn n p Ln

qU 1 kT
D p pn Lp


I S exp

qU kT


where: I S


the junction saturation current q=1.610-19 C elementary charge. A - cross section area

kT=26meV at 300K

Dp, np, Lp, Dn, pn, Ln , - semiconductor material parameters;

A real p-n junction, due to the recombination-generation phenomena, requires some modification of the I-U dependence:
I I S exp qU 1 nkT
and for the forward bias:


IS exp

qU nkT

Where: I S - the modified saturation current n - the ideality factor.

1.2 Analysis of the internal series resistance effect in the diode. In Fig.3 a simple dc model of a real p-n diode is shown, which includes the ideal diode D and the internal parasitic series resistance RS.





Fig.3 A simple dc model of a p-n diode Under the external bias U, the ideal diode D has a voltage drop (U-IFRS) developed across it. Then, the current voltage dependence for the diode, according to the Shockley equation, is given:
IF I S exp qU I F RS nkT 1

And for the forward bias:

IF I S exp qU I F RS nkT

If one draws the I-U dependence in {lg(I) U} coordinates a plot presented in Fig.4 could be obtained.
I [A] 0,1

0,01 1E-3 1E-4 1E-5 1E-6 1E-7

(U2, IF2)

(U1, IF1)
0,2 0,4 0,6 0,8 1,0 1,2 1,4 U [V]

(at U=0)


Fig. 4. Evaluation of Rs and Is from the diode {log(I) U} forward characteristic

The linear part of the curve represents the ideal diode current voltage dependence. Deviation from the linearity represents a voltage drop, U, across the series resistor RS . The value of I S can be read out from the plot at U=0. From the slope of the linear part of the curve one can calculate the n factor: Let us take two points at the linear part of the characteristics in Fig.4.
I F1 IF 2 I S exp I S exp qU1 nkT qU 2 nkT

And taking ln on both sides of the equations above :

ln I F 1 ln I F 2 ln I S ln I S q U1 nkT q U2 nkT

After subtracting each side of the two equations:

ln IF 2 I F1 q (U 2 U1 ) nkT

If (log a = ln a log e = 0.434 ln a), then log IF = 0.434 ln IF After proper substitution: I q log F 2 0,434 (U 2 U1 ) I F1 nkT Now, it is easy to calculate the value of n (kT/q =26mV @ 300K). 1.3 Analysis of the Zener diode I-U characteristic. A typical I-U characteristic of a Zener diode is presented in Fig.5. Also, the graphical method of calculation of the Zener resistance is clearly depicted.
I UZ UZmax UZmin IZmin dU dI U Zmax U Zmin I Zmax I Zmin U




Fig. 5. The I U characteristic of a Zener diode. The evaluation method for calculating the dynamic Zener resistance rz is shown.

2. Measurements
The circuit used in the measurements should be connected as in Fig.6. The multimeters with RS-242 interfaces are addressed by the computer software REJESTRATOR. That allows reading the data and making the I-U plots.
100 ZLS 3 voltage sweep power supply U=f(t) mA


Fig. 6 Circuit schematics for measuring a diode I-U characteristic (DUT - device under test) 2.1 Diode forward I = f(U) characteristics Take measurements of three diodes made of different semiconductors (Ge, Si, GaAs). Find in the datasheets the rated current IFmax and voltage URmax for each diode. Setup the circuit as in Fig.6. Set the power supply current limit at 50% of the rated current. Using the Rejestrator software obtain plots of forward I-U characteristics, all in one graph. Print out the graph. For each diode mark the voltage drop UF at IF =10mA. Compare and explain the obtained values of voltages. Change the plot to log (I) = f(U) coordinates. Print out the graph. From the log (I) = f(U) plot (as shown in Fig. 4) find: the series resistance RS, the junction ideality factor n, the saturated current IS. 2.2 Zener diode I = f(U) characteristic Measure a silicon Zener diode I-U characteristic. Find in the diode datasheet the rated current IF or the rated power Pmax for a given diode and calculate the maximum Zener current for the tested diode. Set the power supply current limit at 80% of the maximum Zener current. Setup the circuit as in Fig.6 with a proper bias of the connected Zener diode. Using the Rejestrator software obtain a plot of the reverse I-U characteristic in the breakdown regime. Print out the graph. From the plot calculate the characteristic Zener dynamic resistance of the diode and nominal value of the Zener voltage.

3. Diode application circuits

3.1 Rectifiers Assemble a circuit as in Fig. 7. Use an Si diode and R1=100ohm. Set a sine-wave signal (Upp =5V, Uoffset=0V, f=50Hz) from the voltage generator. Observe the signals of CH1, CH2 and [CH1-CH2] at the oscilloscope. Repeat for signal frequency 1 kHz. Sketch the CH1, CH2 and [CH1-CH2] waveforms in your report. What is the value of voltage in CH2 during the half period time when the diode is forward biased. Explain it. Calculate the peak rectified current value Ipeak in the circuit.











+ V-Gen





Fig.7 Diodes in a rectifier circuit

Fig.8 Diodes in a wave-shaping circuit

3.2 Wave-shaping circuits Assemble a circuit as in Fig. 8. Initially, connect only one diode, D2. Use a Si diode and R1=100ohm. Set a sine-wave signal (Upp =5V, Uoffset=0V, f=1kHz) from the voltage generator. Observe the signals at the oscilloscope. Measure the signal amplitudes and explain the CH2 signal waveform. Add an additional diode, D3 to the circuit as shown in Fig.8. Repeat the measurements. Explain the observed CH2 signal waveform.

4. Summary
Explain the values Uamp , Upp , URMS for a sine wave signal. Complete the lab report, include your measurements, results and write a brief summary.