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Richard Summerfield Programme Chair – Engineering Ras Al Khaimah Men’s College

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MTRX N410 – I-V Curves for PN Junctions. Richard Summerfield Programme Chair – Engineering Ras Al Khaimah Men’s College. MTRX N410 – I-V Curves for PN Junctions. A diode is an electronic device made from p and n type semiconductor material.

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MTRX N410 – I-V Curves for PN Junctions

Richard Summerfield

Programme Chair – Engineering

Ras Al Khaimah Men’s College

R. Summerfield

mtrx n410 i v curves for pn junctions
MTRX N410 – I-V Curves for PN Junctions

A diode is an electronic device made from p and n type semiconductor material.

The anode is connected to the p type and the cathode to the n type.

Anode

Cathode

Cathode

Anode

R. Summerfield

mtrx n410 i v curves for pn junctions1
MTRX N410 – I-V Curves for PN Junctions

The Diode only allows a current to flow through it one direction:

- From Anode to Cathode

This is known as Forward Bias

R. Summerfield

mtrx n410 i v curves for pn junctions2
MTRX N410 – I-V Curves for PN Junctions

When a diode is Forward biased, it’s anode is connected to a more positive voltage than the cathode.

R. Summerfield

mtrx n410 i v curves for pn junctions3
MTRX N410 – I-V Curves for PN Junctions

When a diode is reverse biased, its cathode is connected to a more positive voltage and it will not conduct.

R. Summerfield

mtrx n410 i v curves for pn junctions4
MTRX N410 – I-V Curves for PN Junctions

An Ideal Diode

An ideal diode would act like a conductor when it is forward biased and an insulator when reverse biased.

Reverse Biased

Forward Biased

R. Summerfield

mtrx n410 i v curves for pn junctions5
MTRX N410 – I-V Curves for PN Junctions

A typical diode has a different I-V curve.

It does not conduct until a ‘threshold’ junction voltage is released.

A small current will ‘leak’ through in reverse bias.

If the reverse voltage is large enough, it will break down.

R. Summerfield

mtrx n410 i v curves for pn junctions6
MTRX N410 – I-V Curves for PN Junctions

Forward Bias

The diode will not conduct until the pn junction depletion layer has been overcome.

Typically

0.7 volts for Silicon

0.3 volts for Germanium

R. Summerfield

mtrx n410 i v curves for pn junctions7
MTRX N410 – I-V Curves for PN Junctions

Reverse Bias

A small current will leak in reverse bias as some electrons will manage to cross the depletion layer due to the effects of thermal energy.

If a sufficiently large reverse voltage is applied the diode will breakdown.

The breakdown voltage will depend on the diode type.

R. Summerfield

mtrx n410 i v curves for pn junctions8
MTRX N410 – I-V Curves for PN Junctions

Typical I-V Curve for a Diode

Note how the scales on the Forward and Reverse Bias areas of the graph are different.

The scales used ‘exaggerate’ the curve to show the differences from an ideal diode.

R. Summerfield

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