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UNIT-II

TRANSISTORS

SYLLABUS BJT, JFET, MOSFET- structure, operation, characteristics and Biasing UJT, Thyristor and IGBT - Structure and characteristics.

INTRODUCTION

In 1947 J. Barden, W. Bratterin and W. Shockley invented transistor. The term transistor was given

by John R. Pierce. Through initially it was called the solid state version of the vacuum triode, but the term transistor has survived. As we will go through the topic, we will know about the transistor,

mainly bipolar junction transistor or BJT. Nowadays the use of BJT’s has declined towards CMOS technology in the design of IC’s. The word ―transistor‖ is derived from the words ―Transfer‖ and ―Resistor‖ it describes the operation of a BJT i.e. the transfer of an input signal from a low resistance circuit to a high resistance circuit. This type of transistor is made up of semiconductors. We know that silicon (Si) and Germanium (Ge) are the examples of semiconductors. Transistor

A three-terminal device whose output current, voltage and/or power are controlled by its input.

Commonly used in audio application as an amplifier, in switching application as a switch and in power supply voltage and current regulator circuit.

2 basic transistor types: BJT and FET

These two transistor differ in their operating characteristic and their internal construction.

BJT STRUCTURE

The BJT is constructed with three doped semiconductor regions separated by two pn junctions.

The three region are called emitter (E),base (B) and collector (C)

The BJT have 2 types:

1. Two n region separate by a p region called npn

2. Two p region separated by a n region called pnp

The pn junction joining the base region and the emitter region is called the base-emiter junction

The pn junction joining the base region and the collector region is call base-collector junction

The base region is lightly doped and very thin compared to the heavily doped emitter and the moderately doped collector region

doped emitter and the moderately doped collector region  BJT schematic symbol  The arrow on
doped emitter and the moderately doped collector region  BJT schematic symbol  The arrow on

BJT schematic symbol

The arrow on schematic symbol is important because:

Identify the component terminal

The arrow is always drawn on the emitter terminal. The terminal opposite emitter is collector and the center terminal is base.

The arrow always points toward n-type material

If the arrow point toward base, transistor is pnp type. If it points toward emitter, transistor is npn type.

Transistor Currents:

emitter, transistor is npn type. Transistor Currents : Transistor terminal current  The directions of the

Transistor terminal current

The directions of the currents in npn transistor and pnp transistor are shown in the figure.

The emitter current (IE) is the sum of the collector current (IC) and the base current (IB)

IE IB IC
IE
IB
IC

IB << IE or IC

The capital letter dc value

Transistor is a current-controlled device - the value of collector and emitter currents are determined by the value of base current.

An increase or decrease in value of I B causes similar change in values of I C and I E .

IC

 An increase or decrease in value of I B causes similar change in values of
 An increase or decrease in value of I B causes similar change in values of

DCIB

Current gain (β) factor by which current increases from base of transistor to its collector.

Transistor Voltages:

V CC collector supply voltage. This is a power supply voltage applied directly to collector of transistor.

V BB base supply voltage. this is dc voltage used to bias base of transistor.

V EE emitter supply voltage. dc biasing voltage and in many cases, VEE is simply a ground connection.

and in many cases, VEE is simply a ground connection.  Transistor Voltages :  V

Transistor Voltages:

V C dc voltage measured from collector terminal of component to ground

V B dc voltage measured from base terminal to ground.

V E dc voltage measured from emitter terminal to ground.

5

Transistor Voltages:

V CE dc voltage measured from collector to emitter terminal of transistor.

V BE dc voltage measured from base to emitter terminal of transistor.

V CB dc voltage measured from collector to base terminal of transistor.

measured from collector to base terminal of transistor. BJT OPERATION  To operate the transistor properly,

BJT OPERATION

To operate the transistor properly, the two pn junction must be correctly biased with external dc voltages.

The figure shown the proper bias arrangement for both npn and pnp transistor for active operation as an amplifier.

and pnp transistor for active operation as an amplifier.  Transistor is made of 3 separate

Transistor is made of 3 separate semiconductor materials that joined together to form two pn junction.

Point at which emitter and base are joined forms a single pn junction base-emitter junction

Collector-base junction point where base and collector meet.

junction  point where base and collector meet.  Cutoff region  Both transistor junctions are

Cutoff region

Both transistor junctions are reverse biased.

With large depletion region between C-B and E-B, very small amount of reverse current, I CEO passes from emitter to collector and can be neglected.

So, VCE = VCC

amount of reverse current, I C E O passes from emitter to collector and can be
amount of reverse current, I C E O passes from emitter to collector and can be

Saturation region

Both transistor junctions are forward-biased.

I C reaches its maximum value as determined by V CC and total resistance in C-E circuit.

I C is independently from relationship of β and I B .

V BE is approximately 0.7V and V CE < V BE .

V I CC RC RE C
V
I
CC
RC
RE
C
0.7V and V C E < V B E . V I CC RC RE C

Active region

BE junction is forward biased and the BC junction is reverse biased.

All terminal currents have some measurable value.

The magnitude of I C depends on the values of β and I B .

Transistor Operating Regions: 1.Cutoff region: • Both transistor junctions are reverse biased • All terminal

Transistor Operating Regions:

1.Cutoff region:

Both transistor junctions are reverse biased

All terminal current are approximately equal to zero. Since I CEO neglected, VCE = VCC

2.Active region:

The BE junction is forward biased and the BC junction is reverse biased

All terminal currents have some measurable value

The magnitude of IC depends on the values of

and IB

VCE is approximately near to 0.7V and VCE falls in ranges VBE<VCE<VCC

3.Saturation:

Both transistor junctions are forward biased

EC6202 ElectronicDevices and circuits • IC reaches its maximum values- determine by the component in

EC6202 ElectronicDevices and circuits

IC reaches its maximum values- determine by the component in the CE circuit, and independent of the values of and IB

VBE is approximately 0.7V and VCE < VBE

of and IB VBE is approximately 0.7V and VCE < VBE Bipolar Transistor Configurations As the

Bipolar Transistor Configurations

0.7V and VCE < VBE Bipolar Transistor Configurations As the Bipolar Transistor is a three terminal

As the Bipolar Transistor is a three terminal device, there are basically three possible ways to connect it within an electronic circuit with one terminal being common to both the input and output. Each method of connection responding differently to its input signal within a circuit as the static characteristics of the transistor vary with each circuit arrangement.

Common Base Configuration

Common Emitter Configuration

Common Collector Configuration

has Voltage Gain but no Current Gain.

has both Current and Voltage Gain.

has Current Gain but no Voltage Gain.

The Common Base (CB) Configuration

As its name suggests, in the Common Base or grounded base configuration, the BASEconnection is common to both the input signal AND the output signal with the input signal being applied between the base and the emitter terminals. The corresponding output signal is taken from between the base and the collector terminals as shown with the base terminal grounded or connected to a fixed reference voltage point.

The input current flowing into the emitter is quite large as its the sum of both the base current and collector current respectively therefore, the collector current output is less than the emitter current

input resulting in a current gain for this type of circuit of ―1‖ (unity) or less, in other words the common base configuration ―attenuates‖ the input signal.

The Common Base Transistor Circuit

the input signal. The Common Base Transistor Circuit This type of amplifier configuration is a non-inverting

This type of amplifier configuration is a non-inverting voltage amplifier circuit, in that the signal voltages Vin and Vout are ―in-phase‖. This type of transistor arrangement is not very common due to its unusually high voltage gain characteristics. Its input characteristics represent that of a forward biased diode while the output characteristics represent that of an illuminated photodiode.

Also this type of bipolar transistor configuration has a high ratio of output to input resistance or more importantly ―load‖ resistance ( RL ) to ―input‖ resistance ( Rin ) giving it a value of ―Resistance Gain‖. Then the voltage gain ( Av ) for a common base configuration is therefore given as:

Common Base Voltage Gain

is therefore given as: Common Base Voltage Gain Where: Ic/Ie is the current gain, alpha (

Where: Ic/Ie is the current gain, alpha ( α ) and RL/Rin is the resistance gain.

The common base circuit is generally only used in single stage amplifier circuits such as microphone pre-amplifier or radio frequency ( Rf ) amplifiers due to its very good high frequency response.

Common Base Characteristics Input Characteristics

For p-n-p transistor, the input current is the emitter current (I E ) and the input voltage is the collector base voltage (V CB ).

As the emitter - base junction is forward biased, therefore the graph of I E

As the emitter - base junction is forward biased, therefore the graph of I E Vs V EB is similar to the forward characteristics of a p - n diode. I E increases for fixed V EB when V CB increases.

Output Characteristics

The output characteristics shows the relation between output voltage and output current I C is the output current and collector-base voltage and the emitter current I E is the input current and works as the parameters. The figure below shows the output characteristics for a p-n-p transistor in CB

mode.

current and works as the parameters. The figure below shows the output characteristics for a p-n-p

As we know for p-n-p transistors I E and V EB are positive and I C , I B , V CB are negative. These are three regions in the curve, active region saturation region and the cut off region. The active region is the region where the transistor operates normally. Here the emitter junction is reverse biased. Now the saturation region is the region where both the emitter collector junctions are forward biased. And finally the cut off region is the region where both emitter and the collector junctions are reverse biased.

The Common Emitter (CE) Configuration

In the Common Emitter or grounded emitter configuration, the input signal is applied between the base and the emitter, while the output is taken from between the collector and the emitter as shown. This type of configuration is the most commonly used circuit for transistor based amplifiers and which represents the ―normal‖ method of bipolar transistor connection.

The common emitter amplifier configuration produces the highest current and power gain of all the three bipolar transistor configurations. This is mainly because the input impedance is LOW as it is connected to a forward biased PN-junction, while the output impedance is HIGH as it is taken from a reverse biased PN-junction.

The Common Emitter Amplifier Circuit

biased PN-junction. The Common Emitter Amplifier Circuit In this type of configuration, the current flowing out

In this type of configuration, the current flowing out of the transistor must be equal to the currents flowing into the transistor as the emitter current is given as Ie = Ic + Ib.

As the load resistance ( RL ) is connected in series with the collector, the current gain of the common emitter transistor configuration is quite large as it is the ratio of Ic/Ib. A transistors current gain is given the Greek symbol of Beta, ( β ).

As the emitter current for a common emitter configuration is defined as Ie = Ic + Ib, the ratio of Ic/Ie is called Alpha, given the Greek symbol of α. Note: that the value of Alpha will always be less than unity.

Since the electrical relationship between these three currents, Ib, Ic and Ie is determined by the physical construction of the transistor itself, any small change in the base current ( Ib ), will result in a much larger change in the collector current ( Ic ).

Then, small changes in current flowing in the base will thus control the current in the emittercollector circuit. Typically, Beta has a value between 20 and 200 for most general purpose transistors. So if a transistor has a Beta value of say 100, then one electron will flow from the base terminal for every 100 electrons flowing between the emitter-collector terminal.

By combining the expressions for both Alpha, α and Beta, β the mathematical relationship between these parameters and therefore the current gain of the transistor can be given as:

the current gain of the transistor can be given as: Where: ―Ic‖ is the current flowing
the current gain of the transistor can be given as: Where: ―Ic‖ is the current flowing

Where: ―Ic‖ is the current flowing into the collector terminal, ―Ib‖ is the current flowing into the base terminal and ―Ie‖ is the current flowing out of the emitter terminal.

Then to summarise a little. This type of bipolar transistor configuration has a greater input impedance, current and power gain than that of the common base configuration but its voltage gain is much lower. The common emitter configuration is an inverting amplifier circuit. This means that the resulting output signal is 180 o ―out-of-phase‖with the input voltage signal.

Common Emitter Characteristics

Input characteristics I B (Base Current) is the input current, V BE (Base - Emitter Voltage) is the input voltage for CE (Common Emitter) mode. So, the input characteristics for CE mode will be the relation between I B and V BE with V CE as parameter. The characteristics are shown below

The typical CE input characteristics are similar to that of a forward biased of p

The typical CE input characteristics are similar to that of a forward biased of p - n diode. But as V CB increases the base width decreases. Output Characteristics Output characteristics for CE mode is the curve or graph between collector current (I C ) and collector - emitter voltage (V CE ) when the base current I B is the parameter. The characteristics is shown below in the figure.

parameter. The characteristics is shown below in the figure. Like the output characteristics of common -

Like the output characteristics of common - base transistor CE mode has also three regions named (i) Active region, (ii) cut-off regions, (iii) saturation region. The active region has collector region reverse biased and the emitter junction forward biased. For cut-off region the emitter junction is slightly reverse biased and the collector current is not totally cut-off. And finally for saturation region both the collector and the emitter junction are forward biased.

The Common Collector (CC) Configuration

In the Common Collector or grounded collector configuration, the collector is now common through the supply. The input signal is connected directly to the base, while the output is taken from the emitter load as shown. This type of configuration is commonly known as a Voltage Follower or Emitter Follower circuit.

The common collector, or emitter follower configuration is very useful for impedance matching applications because of the very high input impedance, in the region of hundreds of thousands of Ohms while having a relatively low output impedance.

The Common Collector Transistor Circuit

output impedance. The Common Collector Transistor Circuit The common emitter configuration has a current gain

The common emitter configuration has a current gain approximately equal to the βvalue of the transistor itself. In the common collector configuration the load resistance is situated in series with the emitter so its current is equal to that of the emitter current.

As the emitter current is the combination of the collector AND the base current combined, the load resistance in this type of transistor configuration also has both the collector current and the input current of the base flowing through it. Then the current gain of the circuit is given as:

The Common Collector Current Gain

The Common Collector Current Gain This type of bipolar transistor configuration is a non-inverting circuit in
The Common Collector Current Gain This type of bipolar transistor configuration is a non-inverting circuit in

This type of bipolar transistor configuration is a non-inverting circuit in that the signal voltages of Vin and Vout are ―in-phase‖. It has a voltage gain that is always less than ―1‖ (unity). The load resistance of the common collector transistor receives both the base and collector currents giving a large current gain (as with the common emitter configuration) therefore, providing good current amplification with very little voltage gain.

We can now summarise the various relationships between the transistors individual DC currents flowing through each leg and its DC current gains given above in the following table.

Relationship between DC Currents and Gains

through each leg and its DC current gains given above in the following table. Relationship between
Bipolar Transistor Summary Then to summarise, the behaviour of the bipolar transistor in each one

Bipolar Transistor Summary

Then to summarise, the behaviour of the bipolar transistor in each one of the above circuit configurations is very different and produces different circuit characteristics with regards to input impedance, output impedance and gain whether this is voltage gain, current gain or power gain and this is summarised in the table below.

Bipolar Transistor Configurations

in the table below. Bipolar Transistor Configurations with the generalised characteristics of the different

with the generalised characteristics of the different transistor configurations given in the following table:

Characteristic

Common

Common

Common

Base

Emitter

Collector

Input Impedance

Low

Medium

High

Output Impedance

Very High

High

Low

Phase Angle

0

o

180

o

0

o

Voltage Gain

High

Medium

Low

Current Gain

Low

Medium

High

Power Gain

Low

Very High

Medium

BJT CHARACTERISTICS & PARAMETERS

DC Beta ( ) and DC Alpha ():

The ratio of the dc collector current (IC) to the dc base current (IB) is the dc beta

( ) = dc current gain of transistor

Range value :

20< <200

Usually designed as an equivalent hybrid (h) parameter, on transistor data sheet = IC

DC I B
DC
I B

The ratio of the dc collector current (IC) to the dc emitter current (IE) is the dc alpha () less used parameter in transistor circuits

Range value-> 0.95< <0.99 or greater , but << 1 (Ic< IE )

IC

DC
DC

I E

Current and Voltage Analysis:

The current and voltage can be identified as follow:

Current:

dc base current,

dc emitter current,

dc collector current,

Voltage:

dc voltage at base with respect to emitter,

dc voltage at collector with respect to base,

dc voltage at collector with respect to emitter,

 When the BE junction is forward-biased, like a forward biased diode and the voltage

When the BE junction is forward-biased, like a forward biased diode and the voltage drop

like a forward biased diode and the voltage drop is V BE 0.7 V  Since

is VBE 0.7V

Since the emitter is at ground (0V), by Kirchhoff’s voltage law, the voltage across

V R B

Also, by Ohm’s law:

law, the voltage across V R B  Also, by Ohm’s law: V B B V

V BB

voltage across V R B  Also, by Ohm’s law: V B B V B E

V BE

V RB

From (1) ->(2) : V

BB

law: V B B V B E V R B  From (1) ->(2) : V

V BE

B B V B E V R B  From (1) ->(2) : V BB V

I B R B

Therefore, the dc base current is:

….(1)

V BE I B R B Therefore, the dc base current is: ….(1) I B R

I B R B …… (2)

I B

VBB
VBB

VBE

The voltage at the collector with respect to the grounded emitter is: RB

VCE

Since the drop across

R C is: V RC

R B V CE  Since the drop across R C is: V R C I

I C R C

The dc voltage at the collector with respect to the emitter is:

Where I C

at the collector with respect to the emitter is: Where I C D C I B
at the collector with respect to the emitter is: Where I C D C I B

DC I B

The dc voltage at the collector with respect to the base is:

V CE

at the collector with respect to the base is: V C E V C C I

V CC

the collector with respect to the base is: V C E V C C I C

I C R C

V CB

the collector with respect to the base is: V C E V C C I C

V CE

the collector with respect to the base is: V C E V C C I C

V BE

the collector with respect to the base is: V C E V C C I C

VCC

R B is:

the collector with respect to the base is: V C E V C C I C

VRC

Collector Characteristic Curve:

Using a circuit as shown in below, we can generate a set of collector characteristic curve that show how the collector current, Ic varies with the VCE voltage for specified values of base current, IB.

VCE voltage for specified values of base current, IB . Collector Characteristic Curve :  Assume
VCE voltage for specified values of base current, IB . Collector Characteristic Curve :  Assume

Collector Characteristic Curve:

Assume that VBB is set to produce a certain value of IB and VCC is zero.

At this condition, BE junction and BC junction are forward biased because the base is approximately 0.7V while the emitter and the collector are zero.

IB is through the BE junction because of the low impedance path to ground, therefore IC is zero.

When both junctions are forward biased transistor operate in saturation region.

As VCC increase, VCE is increase gradually, IC increase indicated by point A to B.

IC increase as VCC is increased because VCE remains less than 0.7V due to the forward biased BC junction.

When VCE exceeds 0.7V, the BC becomes reverse biased and the transistor goes into the active or linear region of its operation.

Once BC junction is RB, IC levels off and remains constant for given value of IB and VCE continues to increase.

Actually IC increases slightly as VCE increase due to widening of the BC depletion region

This result in fewer holes for recombination in the base region which effectively caused a

slight increase in

indicated in point B and C.

When VCE reached a sufficiently high voltage, the reverse biased BC junction goes into breakdown.

The collector current increase rapidly as indicated at the right point C The transistor

cannot operate in the breakdown region.

When IB=0, the transistor is in the cutoff region although there is a very small collector leakage current as indicated exaggerated on the graph for purpose of illustration.

DC Load Line:

Cutoff and saturation can be illustrated in relation to the collector characteristic curves by the use of a load line.

DC load line drawn on the connecting cutoff and saturation point.

The bottom of load line is ideal cutoff where IC=0 & VCE=VCC.

The top of load line is saturation where IC=IC(sat) & VCE =VCE(sat)

In between cutoff and saturation is the active region of transistor’s operation.

About beta, DC , h FE : • Important parameter for BJT More

About beta,

About beta, DC , h FE : • Important parameter for BJT More

DC

,h FE :

Important parameter for BJT

More

Varies both I C & temperature

Keeping the junction temperature constant, I C

• Keeping the junction temperature constant, I C cause • Further increase in I C beyond

cause

Further increase in I C beyond this max. point cause

Transistor Ratings:

DC
DC

to decrease

Maximumthis max. point cause Transistor Ratings: DC to decrease • Specified on manufacturer’s data sheet •

Specified on manufacturer’s data sheet

Given for V CE ,V BE ,V BC ,I C & power dissipation

The product of VCE and IC must not exceed the max. power dissipation

Both V CE and I C cannot be max. at the same time.

FET Definition

P I D(ma x) C V CE
P I
D(ma
x)
C
V CE
max. at the same time. FET Definition P I D(ma x) C V CE Field effect

Field effect transistor is a unipolar-transistor, which acts as a voltage-controlled current device and is a device in which current at two electrodes is controlled by the action of an electric field at another electrode.

Field effect transistor is a device in which the current is controlled and transported by carriers of one polarity (majority) only and an electric field near the one terminal controls the current between other two.

Types of FETs

Junction FET

Depletion Mode MOSFET

Enhancement Mode MOSFET

JFET Definition

JFET is a unipolar-transistor, which acts as a voltage controlled current device and is a device in which current at two electrodes is controlled by the action of an electric field at a p-n junction.

Field effect transistor is a device in which the current is controlled and transported by carriers of one polarity (majority) only and an electric field at the p-n junction region controls the current between other two.

The Junction Field Effect Transistor (JUGFET or JFET) has no PN-junctions but instead has a narrow piece of high resistivity semiconductor material forming a ―Channel‖ of

either N-type or P-type silicon for the majority carriers to flow through with two ohmic electrical connections at either end commonly called the Drain and the Source respectively.

There are two basic configurations of junction field effect transistor, the N-channel JFET and the P-channel JFET. The N-channel JFET’s channel is doped with donor impurities meaning that the flow of current through the channel is negative (hence the term Nchannel) in the form of electrons.

Likewise, the P-channel JFET’s channel is doped with acceptor impurities meaning that the flow of current through the channel is positive (hence the term P-channel) in the form of holes. N-channel JFET’s have a greater channel conductivity (lower resistance) than their equivalent P-channel types, since electrons have a higher mobility through a conductor compared to holes. This makes the N-channel JFET’s a more efficient conductor compared to their P-channel counterparts.

We have said previously that there are two ohmic electrical connections at either end of the channel called the Drain and the Source. But within this channel there is a third electrical connection which is called the Gate terminal and this can also be a P-type or Ntype material forming a PN-junction with the main channel. The relationship between the connections of a junction field effect transistor and a bipolar junction transistor are compared below.

and a bipolar junction transistor are compared below. Comparison of Connections between a JFET and a

Comparison of Connections between a JFET and a BJT

Bipolar Transistor

Field Effect Transistor

Emitter (E)

>>

Source (S)

Base (B)

>>

Gate (G)

Collector (C)

>>

Drain (D)

The symbols and basic construction for both configurations of JFETs are shown below.

The semiconductor ―channel‖ of the Junction Field Effect Transistor is a resistive path through which

The semiconductor ―channel‖ of the Junction Field Effect Transistor is a resistive path through which a voltage V DS causes a current I D to flow and as such the junction field effect transistor can conduct current equally well in either direction. As the channel is resistive in nature, a voltage gradient is thus formed down the length of the channel with this voltage becoming less positive as we go from the Drain terminal to the Source terminal.

The result is that the PN-junction therefore has a high reverse bias at the Drain terminal and a lower reverse bias at the Source terminal. This bias causes a ―depletion layer‖ to be formed within the channel and whose width increases with the bias.

The magnitude of the current flowing through the channel between the Drain and the Source terminals is controlled by a voltage applied to the Gate terminal, which is a reverse- biased. In an N-channel JFET this Gate voltage is negative while for a P-channel JFET the Gate voltage is positive. The main difference between the JFET and a BJT device is that when the JFET junction is reverse-biased the Gate current is practically zero, whereas the Base current of the BJT is always some value greater than zero. N-Channel JFET

A semiconductor bar of n-type material is taken & ohmic contacts are made on either

A semiconductor bar of n-type material is taken & ohmic contacts are made on either ends of the

bar. Terminals are brought out from these ohmic contacts and named as drain & source as shown

in the figure below. On the other two sides of the n-type semiconductor bar, heavily doped ptype

regions are formed to create a p-n junction. Both these p-type regions are connected together via ohmic contacts and the gate terminal is brought out as seen below. Figure below shows the n- channel and p-channel JFET with symbols. The arrow on the gate indicates the direction of the current. Current flows through the length of the n-type bar (channel) due to majority charge carries

which in this case are electrons. When a voltage is applied between the

two ends, a current which is carried by the majority carriers electrons flows along the length of a bar. The majority carriers enter the bar through the source terminal and leave through the drain terminal. The heavily doped regions of the n-type bar are known as the gates. The gate source junctions is reverse is biased as a result depletion regions from which extend to the bar by changing gate to source voltage effective cross sectional area decreases with the function of the gate to source voltage.

P-Channel JEFT

the function of the gate to source voltage. P-Channel JEFT p-channel JFET consists of a p-type

p-channel JFET consists of a p-type silicon or GaAs. Two sides of the bar is heavily doped with n-type impurities. When a voltage is applied between the two ends, a current which is carried by the majority carrier holes flow along the length of a bar. The gate source junction is reverse biased as a result depletion regions form, which extend to the bar by changing gate to extend to source voltage the depletion width can be controlled. The effective cross sectional area decreased with increasing reverse bias, so the drain current is the function of the gate to source voltage.

Biasing of an N-channel JFET

Biasing of an N-channel JFET The cross sectional diagram above shows an N-type semiconductor channel with

The cross sectional diagram above shows an N-type semiconductor channel with a P-type region called the Gate diffused into the N-type channel forming a reverse biased PN-junction and it is this junction which forms the depletion region around the Gate area when no external voltages are applied. JFETs are therefore known as depletion mode devices.

This depletion region produces a potential gradient which is of varying thickness around the PNjunction and restrict the current flow through the channel by reducing its effective width and thus increasing the overall resistance of the channel itself.

Then we can see that the most-depleted portion of the depletion region is in between the Gate and the Drain, while the least-depleted area is between the Gate and the Source. Then the JFET’s channel conducts with zero bias voltage applied (ie, the depletion region has near zero width).

With no external Gate voltage ( V G = 0 ), and a small voltage ( V DS ) applied between the Drain and the Source, maximum saturation current ( I DSS ) will flow through the channel from the Drain to the Source restricted only by the small depletion region around the junctions.

If a small negative voltage ( -V GS ) is now applied to the Gate the size of the depletion region begins to increase reducing the overall effective area of the channel and thus reducing the current flowing through it, a sort of ―squeezing‖ effect takes place. So by applying a reverse bias voltage increases the width of the depletion region which in turn reduces the conduction of the channel.

Since the PN-junction is reverse biased, little current will flow into the gate connection. As the Gate voltage ( -V GS ) is made more negative, the width of the channel decreases until no more current flows between the Drain and the Source and the FET is said to be ―pinched-off‖ (similar to the cut-off region for a BJT). The voltage at which the channel closes is called the ―pinch-off voltage‖, ( V P ).

JFET Channel Pinched-off

JFET Channel Pinched-off In this pinch-off region the Gate voltage, V G S controls the channel

In this pinch-off region the Gate voltage, V GS controls the channel current and V DS has little or no effect.

the channel current and V D S has little or no effect. JFET Model The result

JFET Model

The result is that the FET acts more like a voltage controlled resistor which has zero resistance when V GS = 0 and maximum ―ON‖ resistance ( R DS ) when the Gate voltage is very negative. Under normal operating conditions, the JFET gate is always negatively biased relative to the source.

It is essential that the Gate voltage is never positive since if it is all the channel current will flow to the Gate and not to the Source, the result is damage to the JFET. Then to close the channel:

No Gate voltage ( V GS ) and V DS is increased from zero.

No V DS and Gate control is decreased negatively from zero.

V DS and V GS varying.

The P-channel Junction Field Effect Transistor operates the same as the N-channel above, with the following exceptions: 1). Channel current is positive due to holes, 2). The polarity of the biasing voltage needs to be reversed.

The output characteristics of an N-channel JFET with the gate short-circuited to the source is given as

Output characteristic V-I curves of a typical junction FET.

Output characteristic V-I curves of a typical junction FET. The voltage V G S applied to

The voltage V GS applied to the Gate controls the current flowing between the Drain and the Source terminals. V GS refers to the voltage applied between the Gate and the Source while V DS refers to the voltage applied between the Drain and the Source.

Because a Junction Field Effect Transistor is a voltage controlled device, ―NO current flows into the gate!‖ then the Source current ( I S ) flowing out of the device equals the Drain current flowing into it and therefore ( I D = I S ).

The characteristics curves example shown above, shows the four different regions of operation for a JFET and these are given as:

Ohmic Region When V GS = 0 the depletion layer of the channel is very small and the JFET acts like a voltage controlled resistor.

Cut-off Region This is also known as the pinch-off region were the Gate voltage, V GS is sufficient to cause the JFET to act as an open circuit as the channel resistance is at maximum.

Saturation or Active Region The JFET becomes a good conductor and is controlled by the Gate-Source voltage, ( V GS ) while the Drain-Source voltage, ( V DS ) has little or no effect.

Breakdown Region The voltage between the Drain and the Source, ( V DS ) is high enough to causes the JFET’s resistive channel to break down and pass uncontrolled maximum current.

The characteristics curves for a P-channel junction field effect transistor are the same as those

above, except that the Drain current I D decreases with an increasing positive Gate-Source voltage,

V GS .

The Drain current is zero when V GS = V P . For normal operation, V GS is biased to be somewhere between V P and 0. Then we can calculate the Drain current, I D for any given bias point in the saturation or active region as follows:

Drain current in the active region.

region as follows: Drain current in the active region. Note that the value of the Drain

Note that the value of the Drain current will be between zero (pinch-off) and I DSS (maximum current). By knowing the Drain current I D and the Drain-Source voltage V DS the resistance of the channel ( I D ) is given as:

Drain-Source channel resistance.

( I D ) is given as: Drain-Source channel resistance. Where: g m is the ―transconductance

Where: g m is the ―transconductance gain‖ since the JFET is a voltage controlled device and which represents the rate of change of the Drain current with respect to the change in GateSource voltage.

Modes of FET’s

Like the bipolar junction transistor, the field effect transistor being a three terminal device is capable of three distinct modes of operation and can therefore be connected within a circuit in one of the following configurations.

Common Source (CS) Configuration

following configurations. Common Source (CS) Configuration In the Common Source configuration (similar to common

In the Common Source configuration (similar to common emitter), the input is applied to the Gate and its output is taken from the Drain as shown. This is the most common mode of operation of the FET due to its high input impedance and good voltage amplification and as such Common Source amplifiers are widely used.

The common source mode of FET connection is generally used audio frequency amplifiers and in high input impedance pre-amps and stages. Being an amplifying circuit, the output signal is 180 o ―out-of-phase‖ with the input.

Common Gate (CG) Configuration

-of- phase‖ with the input. Common Gate (CG) Configuration In the Common Gate configuration (similar to

In the Common Gate configuration (similar to common base), the input is applied to the Source and its output is taken from the Drain with the Gate connected directly to ground (0v) as shown. The high input impedance feature of the previous connection is lost in this configuration as the common gate has a low input impedance, but a high output impedance.

This type of FET configuration can be used in high frequency circuits or in impedance matching circuits were a low input impedance needs to be matched to a high output impedance. The output is ―in-phase‖ with the input.

Common Drain (CD) Configuration

- phase‖ with the input. Common Drain (CD) Configuration In the Common Drain configuration (similar to

In the Common Drain configuration (similar to common collector), the input is applied to the Gate and its output is taken from the Source. The common drain or ―source follower‖ configuration has a high input impedance and a low output impedance and near-unity voltage gain so is therefore used in buffer amplifiers. The voltage gain of the source follower configuration is less than unity, and the output signal is ―in-phase‖, 0 o with the input signal.

This type of configuration is referred to as ―Common Drain‖ because there is no signal available at the drain connection, the voltage present, +V DD just provides a bias. The output is in-phase with the input.

The JFET Amplifier

Just like the bipolar junction transistor, JFET’s can be used to make single stage class A amplifier circuits with the JFET common source amplifier and characteristics being very similar to the BJT common emitter circuit. The main advantage JFET amplifiers have over BJT amplifiers is their high input impedance which is controlled by the Gate biasing resistive network formed by R1 and R2 as shown. Biasing of JFET Amplifier

This common source (CS) amplifier circuit is biased in class ―A‖ mode by the voltage

This common source (CS) amplifier circuit is biased in class ―A‖ mode by the voltage divider network formed by resistors R1 and R2. The voltage across the Source resistor R S is generally set to be about one quarter of V DD , ( V DD /4 ) but can be any reasonable value. The required Gate voltage can then be calculated from this R S value. Since the Gate current is zero, ( I G = 0 ) we can set the required DC quiescent voltage by the proper selection of resistors R1 and R2.

The control of the Drain current by a negative Gate potential makes the Junction Field Effect Transistor useful as a switch and it is essential that the Gate voltage is never positive for an Nchannel JFET as the channel current will flow to the Gate and not the Drain resulting in damage to the JFET. The principals of operation for a P-channel JFET are the same as for the N-channel JFET, except that the polarity of the voltages need to be reversed.

Applications of JFET

The junction field effect transistor has many application in the field of electronics and communication. Some of these applications are stated below.

1. Low noise and high input impedance amplifier:- Noise is an undesirable disturbance which interferes with the signals information - greater the noise less the information. Energy electronics device cause some amount of noise. If FET s is used at the front end, we get less amount of amplified noise at the output. Now, it has very high input impedance. So, it can be used in high input impedance amplifier.

2. Buffer Amplifier:- Buffer amplifier should have very high input impedance and low output impedance. Because of high i / p impedance and low output impedance, FET acts as great buffer amplifier. the common drain mode can be used in this purpose.

3.

R.F. Amplifier:- JFET is good in low current signal operation as it is a voltage controlled semiconductors device. It has very low noise level. So, it can be used as RF amplifier in receiver sections of communication field.

4. Current Source:- Here all the supply voltage appears across load. If the current tries to increase very much, the excessive load a current drives the JFET in to active region. Thus JFET acts as a current source.

5. Switch:- JFET may be used as an on / off switch controlling electrical power to load. An example is given below

electrical power t o load. An example is given below Chopper :- When a source wave

Chopper :- When a source wave is applied to the gate of JFET witch, the chopper operation can be done using JFET.

6. Multiplexer:- Analog multiplexer circuit can be made using JFETs. An example is given below.

can be done using JFET. 6. Multiplexer:- Analog multiplexer circuit can be made using JFETs. An

The MOSFET Metal Oxide FET

As well as the Junction Field Effect Transistor (JFET), there is another type of Field Effect Transistor available whose Gate input is electrically insulated from the main current carrying channel and is therefore called an Insulated Gate Field Effect Transistor or IGFET. The most common type of insulated gate FET which is used in many different types of electronic circuits is called the Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor or MOSFET for short.

Field Effect Transistor or MOSFET for short. The IGFET or MOSFET is a voltage controlled field

The IGFET or MOSFET is a voltage controlled field effect transistor that differs from a JFET in that it has a ―Metal Oxide‖ Gate electrode which is electrically insulated from the main semiconductor n-channel or p-channel by a very thin layer of insulating material usually silicon dioxide, commonly known as glass.

This ultra thin insulated metal gate electrode can be thought of as one plate of a capacitor. The isolation of the controlling Gate makes the input resistance of the MOSFET extremely high way up in the Mega-ohms ( MΩ ) region thereby making it almost infinite.

As the Gate terminal is isolated from the main current carrying channel ―NO current flows into the gate‖ and just like the JFET, the MOSFET also acts like a voltage controlled resistor were the current flowing through the main channel between the Drain and Source is proportional to the input voltage. Also like the JFET, the MOSFETs very high input resistance can easily accumulate large amounts of static charge resulting in the MOSFET becoming easily damaged unless carefully handled or protected.

Like JFET, MOSFETs are three terminal devices with a Gate, Drain and Source and both Pchannel (PMOS) and N-channel (NMOS) MOSFETs are available. The main difference this time is that MOSFETs are available in two basic forms:

Depletion Type the transistor requires the Gate-Source voltage, ( V GS ) to switch the device ―OFF‖. The depletion mode MOSFET is equivalent to a ―Normally Closed‖ switch.

Enhancement Type the transistor requires a Gate-Source voltage, ( V GS ) to switch the device ―ON‖. The enhancement mode MOSFET is equivalent to a ―Normally Open‖ switch.

The symbols and basic construction for both configurations of MOSFETs are shown below.

for both configurations of MOSFETs are shown below. The four MOSFET symbols above show an additional

The four MOSFET symbols above show an additional terminal called the Substrate and is not normally used as either an input or an output connection but instead it is used for grounding the substrate. It connects to the main semiconductive channel through a diode junction to the body or metal tab of the MOSFET. Usually in discrete type MOSFETs, this substrate lead is connected

internally to the source terminal. When this is the case, as in enhancement types it is omitted from the symbol for clarification.

The line between the drain and source connections represents the semiconductive channel. If this is a solid unbroken line then this represents a ―Depletion‖ (normally-ON) type MOSFET as drain current can flow with zero gate potential. If the channel line is shown dotted or broken it is an ―Enhancement‖ (normally-OFF) type MOSFET as zero drain current flows with zero gate potential. The direction of the arrow indicates whether the conductive channel is a p-type or an n- type semiconductor device.

Basic MOSFET Structure and Symbol

type semiconductor device. Basic MOSFET Structure and Symbol The construction of the Metal Oxide Semiconductor FET

The construction of the Metal Oxide Semiconductor FET is very different to that of the Junction FET. Both the Depletion and Enhancement type MOSFETs use an electrical field produced by a gate voltage to alter the flow of charge carriers, electrons for n-channel or holes for P-channel, through the semiconductive drain-source channel. The gate electrode is placed on top of a very thin insulating layer and there are a pair of small n-type regions just under the drain and source electrodes.

We saw in the previous tutorial, that the gate of a junction field effect transistor, JFET must be biased in such a way as to reverse-bias the pn-junction. With a insulated gate MOSFET device no such limitations apply so it is possible to bias the gate of a MOSFET in either polarity, positive (+ve) or negative (-ve).

This makes the MOSFET device especially valuable as electronic switches or to make logic gates because with no bias they are normally non-conducting and this high gate input resistance means that very little or no control current is needed as MOSFETs are voltage controlled devices. Both

the p-channel and the n-channel MOSFETs are available in two basic forms, the Enhancement type and the Depletion type.

Depletion-mode MOSFET

The Depletion-mode MOSFET, which is less common than the enhancement mode types is normally switched ―ON‖ (conducting) without the application of a gate bias voltage. That is the channel conducts when V GS = 0 making it a ―normally-closed‖ device. The circuit symbol shown above for a depletion MOS transistor uses a solid channel line to signify a normally closed conductive channel.

For the n-channel depletion MOS transistor, a negative gate-source voltage, -V GS will deplete (hence its name) the conductive channel of its free electrons switching the transistor ―OFF‖. Likewise for a p-channel depletion MOS transistor a positive gate-source voltage, +V GS will deplete the channel of its free holes turning it ―OFF‖.

In other words, for an n-channel depletion mode MOSFET: +V GS means more electrons and more current. While a -V GS means less electrons and less current. The opposite is also true for the p- channel types. Then the depletion mode MOSFET is equivalent to a ―normally-closed‖ switch.

Depletion-mode N-Channel MOSFET and circuit Symbols

mode MOSFET is equivalent to a ―normally - closed‖ switch. Depletion-mode N-Channel MOSFET and circuit Symbols
The depletion-mode MOSFET is constructed in a similar way to their JFET transistor counterparts were

The depletion-mode MOSFET is constructed in a similar way to their JFET transistor counterparts were the drain-source channel is inherently conductive with the electrons and holes already present within the n-type or p-type channel. This doping of the channel produces a conducting path of low resistance between the Drain and Sourcewith zero Gate bias.

Enhancement-mode MOSFET

The more common Enhancement-mode MOSFET or eMOSFET, is the reverse of the depletion- mode type. Here the conducting channel is lightly doped or even undoped making it non- conductive. This results in the device being normally ―OFF‖ (non-conducting) when the gate bias voltage, V GS is equal to zero. The circuit symbol shown above for an enhancement MOS transistor uses a broken channel line to signify a normally open non-conducting channel.

For the n-channel enhancement MOS transistor a drain current will only flow when a gate voltage ( V GS ) is applied to the gate terminal greater than the threshold voltage (V TH ) level in which conductance takes place making it a transconductance device.

The application of a positive (+ve) gate voltage to a n-type eMOSFET attracts more electrons towards the oxide layer around the gate thereby increasing or enhancing (hence its name) the thickness of the channel allowing more current to flow. This is why this kind of transistor is called an enhancement mode device as the application of a gate voltage enhances the channel.

Increasing this positive gate voltage will cause the channel resistance to decrease further causing an increase in the drain current, I D through the channel. In other words, for an n-channel enhancement mode MOSFET: +V GS turns the transistor ―ON‖, while a zero or -V GS turns the transistor ―OFF‖. Then, the enhancement-mode MOSFET is equivalent to a ―normally-open‖ switch.

The reverse is true for the p-channel enhancement MOS transistor. When V GS = 0 the device is ―OFF‖ and the channel is open. The application of a negative (-ve) gate voltage to the p-type eMOSFET enhances the channels conductivity turning it ―ON‖. Then for an p-channel enhancement mode MOSFET: +V GS turns the transistor ―OFF‖, while -V GS turns the transistor ―ON‖.

Enhancement-mode N-Channel MOSFET and Circuit Symbols

Enhancement-mode N-Channel MOSFET and Circuit Symbols Enhancement- mode MOSFETs make excellent electronics switches due to
Enhancement-mode N-Channel MOSFET and Circuit Symbols Enhancement- mode MOSFETs make excellent electronics switches due to

Enhancement-mode MOSFETs make excellent electronics switches due to their low ―ON‖ resistance and extremely high ―OFF‖ resistance as well as their infinitely high input resistance due to their isolated gate. Enhancement-mode MOSFETs are used in integrated circuits to produce CMOS type Logic Gates and power switching circuits in the form of as PMOS (Pchannel) and NMOS (N-channel) gates. CMOS actually stands for Complementary MOS meaning that the logic device has both PMOS and NMOS within its design.

UNIJUNCTION TRANSISTOR

The Unijunction Transistor or UJT for short, is another solid state three terminal device that can be used in gate pulse, timing circuits and trigger generator applications to switch and control either thyristors and triacs for AC power control type applications.

Like diodes, unijunction transistors are constructed from separate P-type and N-type semiconductor materials forming a

Like diodes, unijunction transistors are constructed from separate P-type and N-type semiconductor materials forming a single (hence its name Uni-Junction) PN-junction within the main conducting N-type channel of the device.

Although the Unijunction Transistor has the name of a transistor, its switching characteristics are very different from those of a conventional bipolar or field effect transistor as it can not be used to amplify a signal but instead is used as a ON-OFF switching transistor. UJT’s have unidirectional conductivity and negative impedance characteristics acting more like a variable voltage divider during breakdown.

Like N-channel FET’s, the UJT consists of a single solid piece of N-type semiconductor material forming the main current carrying channel with its two outer connections marked as Base 2 ( B 2 ) and Base 1 ( B 1 ). The third connection, confusingly marked as the Emitter ( E ) is located along the channel. The emitter terminal is represented by an arrow pointing from the P-type emitter to the N-type base.

The Emitter rectifying p-n junction of the unijunction transistor is formed by fusing the P-type material into the N-type silicon channel. However, P-channel UJT’s with an N-type Emitter terminal are also available but these are little used.

The Emitter junction is positioned along the channel so that it is closer to terminal B 2 than B 1 . An arrow is used in the UJT symbol which points towards the base indicating that the Emitter terminal is positive and the silicon bar is negative material. Below shows the symbol, construction, and equivalent circuit of the UJT.

There are 3 types of uni junction transistors

1. Original Uni-junction transistor

2. Complimentary Uni-junction transistor

1.

Original Uni-junction transistor or UJT is a simple device in which a bar of N-type

semiconductor material into which P-type material is diffused; somewhere along its length defining the device parameter as intrinsic standoff. The 2N2646 is the most commonly used version of UJT. UJTs are very popular in switching circuits and are never used as amplifiers. As far as Applications of UJT are concerned, they can be used as relaxation oscillators, phase controls, timing circuits and trigger devices for SCRs and triacs.

2. Complimentary Uni-junction transistor or CUJT is a bar of P-type semiconductor

material into which N-type material is diffused somewhere along its length defining the device parameter as intrinsic standoff. The 2N6114 is one version of CUJT.

3. Programmable Uni-junction transistor or PUT is a close relative of thyristor; just like

thyristor, it consists of four P-N layers and has anode and cathode placed at first and last layers. The N-type layer near the anode is known as anode gate. It is inexpensive in production.

is known as anode gate. It is inexpensive in production. Programmable Uni junction Transistor Among these

Programmable Uni junction Transistor

Among these three transistors, this article talks about UJT transistor’s working features and its construction in brief.

Construction of UJT

UJT is a three-terminal, single-junction, two-layered device, and it is similar to a thyristor compare to a transistors. It has a high-impedance off state and low-impedance on state quite similar to a thyristor. From off state to an on state, switching is caused by conductivity modulation and not by a bipolar transistor action.

Construction of UJT

The silicon bar has two Ohmic contacts designated as base1 and base2, as shown in the fig. The function of the base and the emitter are different from the base and emitter of a bipolar transistor.

The emitter is of P-type, and it is heavily doped. The resistance between B1 and B2 when the emitter is open-circuited is called an inter-base resistance. The emitter junction is usually situated closer to the base B2 than the base B1. So the device is not symmetrical, because symmetrical unit does not provide electrical characteristics to most of the applications.

The symbol for uni-junction transistor is shown in the fig. When the device is forward-biased, it is active or is in the conducting state. The emitter is drawn at an angle to the vertical line which represents the N-type material slab and the arrow head points in the direction of conventional current.

Operation of a UJT

This transistor operation starts by making the emitter supply voltage to zero, and its emitter diode is reverse biased with the intrinsic stand-off voltage. If VB is the voltage of the emitter diode, then the total reverse bias voltage is VA + VB = Ƞ VBB + VB. For silicon VB = 0.7 V, If VE gets slowly increases to the point where VE = Ƞ VBB, then IE will be reduced to zero. Therefore, on each side of the diode, equal voltages results no current flow through it, neither in reverse bias nor in forward bias.

through it, neither in reverse bias nor in forward bias. Equivalent Circuit of a UJT When

Equivalent Circuit of a UJT

When the emitter supply voltage is increased rapidly, then the diode becomes forward-biased and exceeds the total reverse bias voltage (Ƞ VBB + VB). This emitter voltage value VE is called the peak-point voltage and is denoted by VP. When VE = VP, emitter current IE flows through the RB1 to the ground, that is, B1. This is the minimum current required for triggering the UJT. This is called the peak-point emitter current and is denoted by IP. Ip is inversely proportional to the Inter-base voltage, VBB.

Now when the emitter diode starts conducting, charge carriers are injected into the RB region of the bar. As the resistance of a semiconductor material depends upon doping, the resistance of RB decreases due to additional charge carriers.

Then the voltage drop across RB also decreases, with the decrease in resistance because the emitter diode is heavily forward biased. This in turn results in larger forward current, and as a result charge carriers are injected and it will cause the reduction in the resistance of the RB region. Thus, the emitter current goes on increasing until the emitter power supply is in limited range.

VA decreases with the increase in emitter current, and UJT have the negative resistance characteristic. The base 2 is used for applying external voltage VBB across it. The terminals E and B1 are the active terminals. UJT usually gets triggered by applying a positive pulse to the emitter, and it can be turned off by applying a negative trigger pulse.

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UJT Characteristics

views on this topic by commenting below. UJT Characteristics The static emitter characteristic (a curve showing

The static emitter characteristic (a curve showing the relation between emitter voltage V E and

emitter current I E ) of a UJT at a given inter base voltage V BB is shown in figure. From figure it is noted that for emitter potentials to the left of peak point, emitter current I E never exceeds I Eo . The current I Eo corresponds very closely to the reverse leakage current I Co of the conventional BJT. This region, as shown in the figure, is called the cut-off region. Once conduction is established at

V E = V P the emitter potential V E starts decreasing with the increase in emitter current I E . This

Corresponds exactly with the decrease in resistance R B for increasing current I E . This device, therefore, has a negative resistance region which is stable enough to be used with a great deal of reliability in the areas of applications listed earlier. Eventually, the valley point reaches, and any

further increase in emitter current I E places the device in the saturation region, as shown in the figure. Three other important parameters for the UJT are I P , V V and I V and are defined below:

Peak-Point Emitter Current. Ip. It is the emitter current at the peak point. It represents the rnimrnum current that is required to trigger the device (UJT). It is inversely proportional to the interbase voltage V BB .

Valley Point Voltage VV The valley point voltage is the emitter voltage at the valley point. The valley voltage increases with the increase in interbase voltage V BB .

Valley Point Current IV The valley point current is the emitter current at the valley point. It increases with the increase in inter-base voltage V BB .

Special Features of UJT. The special features of a UJT are :

1. A stable triggering voltage (V P )a fixed fraction of applied inter base voltage V BB .

2. A very low value of triggering current.

3. A high pulse current capability.

4. A negative resistance characteristic.

5. Low cost.

THYRISTORS

Thyristors or silicon controlled rectifiers, SCR are find many uses in electronics, and in particular for power control. These devices have even been called the workhorse of high power electronics.

Thyristors are able to switch large levels of power are accordingly they used in a wide variety of different applications. Thyristors even finds uses in low power electronics where they are used in many circuits from light dimmers to power supply over voltage protection.

The term SCR or silicon controlled rectifier is often used synonymously with that of thyristor - the SCR or silicon controlled rectifier is actually a trade name used by General Electric.

SCR discovery

The idea for the thyristor was first described by Shockley in 1950. It was referred to as a bipolar transistor with a p-n hook-collector. The mechanism for the operation was analysed further in 1952 by Ebers.

Then in 1956 Moll investigated the switching mechanism of the thyristor. Development continued and more was learned about the device such that the first silicon controlled rectifiers became available in the early 1960s where it started to gain a significant level of popularity for power switching.

Thyristor applications

Thyristors, or silicon controleld rectifiers, SCRs are used in many areas of electronics where they find uses in a variety of different applications. Some of the more common applications for them are outlined below:

AC power control (including lights, motors,etc).

Overvoltage protection crowbar for power supplies.

AC power switching.

Control elements in phase angle triggered controllers.

Within photographic flash lights where they act as the switch to discharge a stored voltage through the flash lamp, and then cut it off at the required time.

Thyristors are able to switch high voltages and withstand reverse voltages making them ideal for switching applications, especially within AC scenarios.

Thyristor basics

The thyristor or silicon controlled rectifier, SCR is a device that has a number of unusual characteristics. It has three terminals: Anode, cathode and gate, reflecting thermionic valve / vacuum tube technology. As might be expected the gate is the control terminal while the main current flows between the anode and cathode.

As can be imagined from its circuit symbol shown below, the device is a "one way device" giving rise to the GE name for it the silicon controlled rectifier. Therefore when the device is used with AC, it will only conduct for a maximum of half the cycle.

In operation, the thyristor or SCR will not conduct initially. It requires a certain level of current to flow in the gate to "fire" it. Once fired, the thyristor will remain in conduction until the voltage across the anode and cathode is removed - this obviously happens at the end of the half cycle over which the thyristor conducts. The next half cycle will be blocked as a result of the rectifier action. It will then require current in the gate circuit to fire the SCR again.

Thyristor symbol

The silicon controlled rectifier, SCR or thyristor symbol used for circuit diagrams or circuit seeks to emphasis its rectifier characteristics while also showing the control gate. As a result the thyristor symbol shows the traditional diode symbol with a control gate entering near the junction.

gate. As a result the thyristor symbol shows the traditional diode symbol with a control gate

SCR / Thyristor symbol for circuit diagrams and schematics Other types of thyristor or SCR

There is a number of different types thyristor - these are variants of the basic component, but they offer different capabilities that can be used in various instances and may be useful for certain circuits.

Reverse conducting thyristor, RCT: Although thyristors normally block current in the reverse direction, there is one form called a reverse conducting thyristor which has an integrated reverse diode to provide conduction in the reverse direction, although there is no control in this direction.

Within a reverse conducting thyristor, the device itself and the diode do not conduct at the same time. This means that they do not produce heat simultaneously. As a result they can be integrated and cooled together.

The RCT can be used where a reverse or freewheel diode would otherwise be needed. Reverse conducting thyristors are often used in frequency changers and inverters.

Gate Assisted Turn-Off Thyristor, GATT: The GATT is used in circumstances where a fast turn-off is needed. To assist in this process a negative gate voltage can sometimes be applied. In addition to reducing the anode cathode voltage. This reverse gate voltage helps in draining the minority carriers stored on the n-type base region and it ensures that the gate-cathode junction is not forward biased.

The structure of the GATT is similar to that of the standard thyristor, except that the narrow cathode strips are often used to enable the gate to have more control because it is closer to the centre of the cathode.

Gate Turn-Off Thyristor, GTO: The GTO is sometimes also referred to as the gate turn off switch. This device is unusual in the thyristor family because it can be turned off by simply applying a negative voltage to the gate - there is no requirement to remove the anode cathode voltage. See further page in this series more fully describing the GTO.

Asymmetric Thyristor: This device is used in circuits where the thyristor does not see a reverse voltage and therefore the rectifier capability is not needed. As a result it is possible to make the second junction, often referred to as J2 (see page on the device structure) can be made much thinner. The resulting n-base region provides a reduced V on as well as improved turn on time and turn off time.

Thyristor Structure & Fabrication

- details of the structure and fabrication of a thyristor detailing how this affects its operation and circuit design

The thyristor structure is consists of four layers rather than the basic three layers used for a standard transistor.

The thyristor structure is relatively straightforward and normally relies on processes that are well established. As a result thyristors are plentiful and generally low cost.

Basic thyristor structure

The thyristor consists of a four layer p-n-p-n structure with the outer layers are referred to as the anode (p-type) and cathode (n-type). The control terminal of the thyristor is named the gate and it is connected to the p-type layer located next to the cathode.

connected to the p-type layer located next to the cathode. Structure of a thyristor or silicon

Structure of a thyristor or silicon controlled rectifier, SCR

As a result the thyristor has three junctions rather than the one junction of a diode, and two within transistors.

The three junctions are normally denoted as J 1 , J 2 , and J 3 . They are numbered serially with J 1 being nearest to the anode.

Thyristor materials

Although it is possible to use a variety of different materials for thyristors, silicon is the most popular. The trade name for this type of device - silicon controlled rectifier - also indicates that silicon is the most popular material.

Silicon provides good thermal conductivity as well as a high voltage and current capability. Another advantage is that the processes for silicon are more mature, and hence cheaper to run, than those for other materials.

However, other materials including silicon carbide, SiC; gallium nitride, GaN; diamond, C; and semi-wide-gap semiconductor material gallium arsenide, GaAs as well, have been investigated and according to the research they demonstrated promising properties under extreme conditions

of high power, high temperature and high frequency. Nevertheless silicon still remains the most popular substance.

Thyristor semiconductor structure and fabrication

The level of doping varies between the different layers of the thyristor. The cathode is the most heavily doped. The gate and anode are the next heavily doped. The lowest doping level is within the central n type layer. This is also thicker than the other layers and these two factors enable a large blocking voltage to be supported. Thinner layers would mean that the device would break down at lower voltages.

mean that the device would break down at lower voltages. Thyristor structure at the semiconductor level

Thyristor structure at the semiconductor level

In view of the very high currents and power levels that some thyristors are used to switch, thermal considerations are of paramount importance. 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. This is accomplished in such a way that heat is removed from the silicon to the package. Apart from the internal considerations, the external heat-sinking considerations for the thyristor must be carefully implemented otherwise the device may overheat and fail.

Asymmetric thyristor structure

The asymmetric thyristor is characterised by what is termed a cathode short and an anode short. It can be seen from the diagram that both the cathode and anode connections connect to n+ and the p regions in the case of the cathode and the p+ and n regions on the case of the anode.

The "short" between the p and n regions has the effect of adding a resistor between the junctions, i.e. cathode to gate in the case of the cathode connection. This has a variety of effects including reducing carrier lifetime and improving the transient response time.

carrier lifetime and improving the transient response time. Asymmetric thyristor structure at the semiconductor level

Asymmetric thyristor structure at the semiconductor level Thyristor Theory and Operation

- operation of a thyristor together with the thyristor structure, fabrication and construction.

The thyristor theory and operation can be viewed from a number of levels. To look at the thyristor theory and operation, the use of equivalent circuit helps describe the operation

In order to be able to utilise a thyristors, a knowledge of their operation and theory is required.

Thyristor theory and operation basics

The thyristor has three basic states:

Reverse blocking:

In this mode or state the thyristor blocks the current in the same way

as that of a reverse biased diode.

Forward blocking: In this mode or state the thyristor operation is such that it blocks forward current conduction that would normally be carried by a forward biased diode.

Forward conducting: In this mode the thyristor has been triggered into conduction. It will remain conducting until the forward current drops below a threshold value known as the "holding current."

The thyristor consists of four semiconductor regions - p-n-p-n. The outer p region forming the anode, and the outer n region forming the cathode as shown below.

and the outer n region forming the cathode as shown below. Thyristor theoretical structure For the

Thyristor theoretical structure

For the thyristor operation,and looking at the simplified block structure it can be seen that the device may be considered as two back to back transistors. 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. The gate is connected to the base of the np-n transistor.

The gate is connected to the base of the np-n transistor. Equivalent circuit of a thyristor

Equivalent circuit of a thyristor or silicon controlled rectifier (SCR)

This arrangement forms a positive feedback loop within the thyristor. The output of one transistor fed to the input of the second. In turn the output of the second transistor is fed back to the input of the first. As a result it can be seen that the total current gain of the device exceeds one. This means that when a current starts to flow, it quickly builds up until both transistors are fully turned on or saturated.

When a voltage is applied across a thyristor no current flows because neither transistor is conducting. As a result there is no complete path across the device. If a small current is passed through the gate electrode, this will turn "on" the transistor TR2. When this occurs it will cause the collector of TR2 to fall towards the voltage on the emitter, i.e. the cathode of the whole device. When this occurs it will cause current to flow through the base of TR1 and turn this transistor "on". Again this will now try to pull the voltage on the collector of TR1 towards its emitter voltage. This will cause current to flow in the emitter of TR2, causing its "on" state to be maintained. In this way it only requires a small trigger pulse on the gate to turn the thyristor on. Once switched on, the thyristor can only be turned off by removing the supply

Gate Turn-Off Thyristor, GTO

- description and information about the Gate Turn-Off Thyristor,GTO, its operation, applications, structure and circuit design considerations.

The Gate Turn-Off Thyristor, GTO is a variant of the more standard form of thyristor. Rather than the gate being used to turn the thyristor on, within a gate turn-off thyristor, GTO, the gate pulse turns the device off.

These gate turn-off thyristors are useful in a number of areas, particularly within variable speed motor drives, high power, inverters and similar areas. Although they are not nearly as well known as the more standard forms of thyristor, the gate turn off thyristor, is now widely used as it is able to overcome many of the disadvantages of the traditional thyristor. As a result the gate turn-off thyristor is used in virtually all DC to AC and DC to DC high voltage conversion units The first thyristors were developed in the mid-1950s and established their place in the market as a high current high voltage switch. The gate turn-off thyristor, GTO was not developed until later and only entered the market around 1973. Accordingly it is not as well known in many circles as the more familiar thyristor, although within its own area, it is widely known and used.

Gate turn-off thyristor basics

The gate turn off thyristor is behaves somewhat differently to a standard thyristor which can only be turned on and cannot be turned off via the gate. The gate turn off thyristor, GTO can be turned- on by a gate signal, and it can also be turned-off by a gate signal of negative polarity.

The device turn on is accomplished by a "positive current" pulse between the gate and cathode terminals. As the gate-cathode behaves like PN junction, there is a relatively small voltage between the terminals.

The turn on phenomenon in GTO is however, not as reliable as that of a standard thyristor and small positive gate current must be maintained even after turn on to improve reliability.

Gate turn-off thyristor structure

Like the standard thyristor, the gate turn-off thyristor is a four layer device having three junctions. Again the layers are p-n-p-n with the outside p layer providing the anode connection, and the outside n layer providing he cathode connection.To attain high emitter efficiency, the cathode layer is highly doped to give an n+ region. This has the drawback that it renders the junction nearest to the cathode (normally referred to as J3) with a low breakdown voltage - typically 20- 40 volts.

The doping level of the p region for the gate is graded. This is to provide good emitter efficiency for which the doping level should be low, while providing a good turn off characteristic for which a high doping level is needed.

The gate electrode is often interdigitated to optimise the current turn=off capability. High current devices, i.e. 1000A and above may have several thousand segments which are all connected to the common gate contact.

Another key parameter for a gate turn-off thyristor is the maximum forward blocking voltage. This is determined by the doping level and thickness of the n type base region. As many devices may need to block voltages of several kilovolts, the doping level of this region needs to be kept relatively low.

of several kilovolts, the doping level of this region needs to be kept relatively low. Gate

Gate turn-off thyristor structure

Gate turn off thyristor operation

Many aspects of the Gate turnoff thyristor, GTO are very similar to that of the ordinary thyristor. It can be thought of as being one PNP and one NPN transistor being connected in a regenerative configuration whereby once turned on the system maintains itself in this state.

once turned on the system maintains itself in this state. Equivalent circuit of a gate turn

Equivalent circuit of a gate turn off thyristor

When a potential is applied across the gate turn-off thyristor between the anode and cathode, no current will flow because neither device is turned on. Current would only flow if the voltage exceeded the breakdown voltage and current would flow as a result of avalanche action, but this mode would not be wanted for normal operation. In this non-conducting state the gate turn-off thyristor is said to be in its forward blocking mode.

To turn the device on it is necessary to inject current into gate circuit of the device. When this is done, it turns on TR2 in the diagram. This pulls the collector of this transistor down towards the emitter voltage and in turn this turns on the other transistor - TR1.

The fact that TR1 is now switched on ensures current flows into the base of TR2, and thus this feedback process ensures that once the gate turn-off thyristor like any other thyristor is turned on it remains on.

The key capability of the gate turn-off thyristor is its ability to be turned off by the use of the gate electrode on the device. The device turn off is achieved by applying a negative bias to the gate with respect to the cathode. This extracts current from the base region of TR2. The resulting voltage drop in the base starts to reverse bias the junction and thereby stopping the current flow in this transistor - TR2.

This then stops the injection into the base region of TR1 and this prevents current flow in this transistor.

In terms of the physics of the turn off phase, it is found that during the turn off phase of the GTO, current is crowded into higher and higher density current filaments in areas that are most remote

from the gate region. These high current density areas become hot, and can cause device failure if the current is not extinguished quickly.

When the current filaments are extinguished, the overall current flow stops and the depletion layers around the junctions grow - the gate turn-off thyristor enters its forward blocking state again.

The gate turn off thyristor is similar to the ordinary thyristor in many ways, but its capability of being able to be turned off by voltages on the gate provide more capability for the device and enable the gate turn off thyristor to be used in areas where the standard thyristor cannot be used. Accordingly the gate turn off thyristor is a useful tool for many applications.

Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor

The Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistoralso called an IGBT for short, is something of a cross between a conventional Bipolar Junction Transistor, (BJT) and a Field Effect Transistor, (MOSFET) making it ideal as a semiconductor switching device.

The IGBT transistor takes the best parts of these two types of transistors, the high input impedance and high switching speeds of a MOSFET with the low saturation voltage of a bipolar transistor, and combines them together to produce another type of transistor switching device that is capable of handling large collector-emitter currents with virtually zero gate current drive.

currents with virtually zero gate current drive. Typical IGBT The Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor , (IGBT)

Typical IGBT

The Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor, (IGBT) combines the insulated gate (hence the first part of its name) technology of the MOSFET with the output performance characteristics of a conventional bipolar transistor, (hence the second part of its name). The result of this hybrid combination is that the ―IGBT Transistor‖ has the output switching and conduction characteristics of a bipolar transistor but is voltage-controlled like a MOSFET.

IGBTs are mainly used in power electronics applications, such as inverters, converters and power supplies, were the demands of the solid state switching device are not fully met by power bipolars and power MOSFETs. High-current and high-voltage bipolars are available, but their switching speeds are slow, while power MOSFETs may have higher switching speeds, but highvoltage and high-current devices are expensive and hard to achieve.

The advantage gained by the insulated gate bipolar transistor device over a BJT or MOSFET is that it offers greater power gain than the standard bipolar type transistor combined with the higher voltage operation and lower input losses of the MOSFET. In effect it is an FET integrated with a bipolar transistor in a form of Darlington type configuration as shown.

Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor

configuration as shown. Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor We can see that the insulated gate bipolar transistor

We can see that the insulated gate bipolar transistor is a three terminal, transconductance device that combines an insulated gate N-channel MOSFET input with a PNP bipolar transistor output connected in a type of Darlington configuration. As a result the terminals are labelled as:

Collector, Emitter and Gate. Two of its terminals (C-E) are associated with the conductance path which passes current, while its third terminal (G) controls the device.

The amount of amplification achieved by the insulated gate bipolar transistor is a ratio between its output signal and its input signal. For a conventional bipolar junction transistor, (BJT) the amount of gain is approximately equal to the ratio of the output current to the input current, called Beta.

For a metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor or MOSFET, there is no input current as the gate is isolated from the main current carrying channel. Therefore, an FET’s gain is equal to the ratio of output current change to input voltage change, making it a transconductance device and this is also true of the IGBT. Then we can treat the IGBT as a power BJT whose base current is provided by a MOSFET.

The Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor can be used in small signal amplifier circuits in much the same way as the BJT or MOSFET type transistors. But as the IGBT combines the low conduction loss of a BJT with the high switching speed of a power MOSFET an optimal solid state switch exists which is ideal for use in power electronics applications.

Also, the IGBT has a much lower ―on-state‖ resistance, R ON than an equivalent MOSFET. This means that the I 2 R drop across the bipolar output structure for a given switching current is much lower. The forward blocking operation of the IGBT transistor is identical to a power MOSFET.

When used as static controlled switch, the insulated gate bipolar transistor has voltage and current ratings similar to that of the bipolar transistor. However, the presence of an isolated gate in an IGBT makes it a lot simpler to drive than the BJT as much less drive power is needed.

An insulated gate bipolar transistor is simply turned ―ON‖ or ―OFF‖ by activating and deactivating its Gate terminal. Applying a positive input voltage signal across the Gate and the Emitter will keep the device in its ―ON‖ state, while making the input gate signal zero or slightly negative will cause it to turn ―OFF‖ in much the same way as a bipolar transistor or eMOSFET. Another advantage of the IGBT is that it has a much lower on-state channel resistance than a standard MOSFET.

IGBT Characteristics

resistance than a standard MOSFET. IGBT Characteristics Because the IGBT is a voltage-controlled device, it only

Because the IGBT is a voltage-controlled device, it only requires a small voltage on the Gate to maintain conduction through the device unlike BJT’s which require that the Base current is continuously supplied in a sufficient enough quantity to maintain saturation.

Also the IGBT is a unidirectional device, meaning it can only switch current in the ―forward direction‖, that is from Collector to Emitter unlike MOSFET’s which have bi-directional current switching capabilities (controlled in the forward direction and uncontrolled in the reverse direction).

The principal of operation and Gate drive circuits for the insulated gate bipolar transistor are very similar to that of the N-channel power MOSFET. The basic difference is that the resistance offered by the main conducting channel when current flows through the device in its ―ON‖ state is very much smaller in the IGBT. Because of this, the current ratings are much higher when compared with an equivalent power MOSFET.

The main advantages of using the Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor over other types of transistor devices are its high voltage capability, low ON-resistance, ease of drive, relatively fast

switching speeds and combined with zero gate drive current makes it a good choice for moderate speed, high voltage applications such as in pulse-width modulated (PWM), variable speed control, switch-mode power supplies or solar powered DC-AC inverter and frequency converter applications operating in the hundreds of kilohertz range.

A general comparison between BJT’s, MOSFET’s and IGBT’s is given in the following table.

IGBT Comparison Table

Device

Power

Power

IGBT

Characteristic

Bipolar

MOSFET

Voltage Rating

High <1kV

High <1kV

Very High >1kV

Current Rating

High <500A

Low <200A

High >500A

Input Drive

Current,

h FE

Voltage, V GS 3-10V

Voltage, 4-

V

GE

20-200

8V

Input Impedance

Low

High

High

Output Impedance

Low

Medium

Low

Switching Speed

Slow (uS)

Fast (nS)

Medium

Cost

Low

Medium

High

We have seen that the Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor is semiconductor switching device that has the output characteristics of a bipolar junction transistor, BJT, but is controlled like a metal oxide field effect transistor, MOSFET.

One of the main advantages of the IGBT transistor is the simplicity by which it can be driven ―ON‖ by applying a positive gate voltage, or switched ―OFF‖ by making the gate signal zero or slightly negative allowing it to be used in a variety of switching applications. It can also be driven in its linear active region for use in power amplifiers.

With its lower on-state resistance and conduction losses as well as its ability to switch high voltages at high frequencies without damage makes the Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor ideal for driving inductive loads such as coil windings, electromagnets and DC motors.