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Diode Operation

Lecture Outline

Have looked at basic diode processing and structures Goal is now to understand and model the behavior of the device under bias

First consider the carrier exchange and interaction between p and n materials in equilibrium, and discuss concept of the depletion region Then examine carrier profiles under forward and reverse bias, and derive a model for the diode current flow in terms of applied potential and physical parameters

Concepts of 1D area and doping profiles from lecture 6 as well as GR and diffusion from lecture 7 are required for current model

David J. Walkey 97.398*, Physical Electronics: Diode Operation (8) Page 2

To understand carrier flow in biased diode, first examine behaviour of carriers during establishment of equilibrium between p and n materials Start with situation below, where p+ and n materials are separated, and hence cannot exchange carriers (would be a p+ implant diffusion into n substrate structure) Electrons are majority in n-type (ND) and minority in p-type (ni2/NA), holes are majority in p-type (NA) and minority in n-type (ni2/ND)

David J. Walkey

Page 3

After materials are connected, they can exchange carriers Large concentration gradients exist across the metallurgical junction Following slides show enlargement of boxed region

David J. Walkey

Page 4

Charge Distributions at t = 0+

Just after connection, the hole and electron distributions are flat in each material (uniform doping) and discontinuous across the metalurgical junction Large concentration gradients exist, so there will be a large component of carrier flux due to diffusion, recall

dc( x ) = D dx

David J. Walkey

Page 5

At some later time, charge redistribution has taken place Holes move to n-type, creating +ve charge, electrons move to p-type, creating -ve charge Concentration gradients, and hence diffusion flux, decrease as carriers redistribute Charge redistribution causes electric field which also tends to oppose further diffusion of carriers

David J. Walkey

Page 6

After a long time, charge will have redistributed so that the forces due to the concentration gradient and the electric field balance Forces due to diffusion and electric field are still present, but exactly balance If electrons and holes were not charged, this would not occur (no charge separation, no E) Note that areas away from metallurgical junction are unaffected

David J. Walkey 97.398*, Physical Electronics: Diode Operation (8) Page 7

Diode Regions

Identify two distinct regions in the pn-junction structure:

The neutral regions are those which are essentially unaffected by the charge redistribution The depletion region is the transition region where charge redistribution has taken place

David J. Walkey

Page 8

Forward bias raises potential of p with respect to n, causes current flow from p to n Two current components:

Injection of holes from p to n, in the direction of current Injection of electrons from n to p, in the opposite direction to current

Note that electrons injected into p, holes injected into n, hence the term minority carrier injection for forward bias

David J. Walkey

Page 9

In forward bias, injection of carriers raises the value of the carrier density throughout the device - note linear behavior in thin p+ region In the neutral regions, the increase is negligible compared to the doping level for moderate bias levels This is therefore a low level injection situation

David J. Walkey

Page 10

Boundary conditions on electron and hole densities are

np ( x )

p-depl edge

= n po e qVD / kT

David J. Walkey

Page 11

Develop expressions for minority densities, then use diffusion relationship to derive current components due to electron injection Jn and hole injection Jp as

Jn = qDn n po wp

(e

qVD / kT

1)

Jp =

qD p pno Lp

(e

qVD / kT

1)

Total current is sum of individual components, this is the ideal diode equation (for current density) but illustrating the physical components of the saturation term

qDn n po qD p pno qV / kT D e JD = + 1) ( w Lp p

David J. Walkey 97.398*, Physical Electronics: Diode Operation (8) Page 12

Total current is sum of individual components, this is the ideal diode equation (for current density) but illustrating the physical components of the saturation term

qDn n po qD p pno qV / kT D 1) + e JD = ( w Lp p

David J. Walkey

Page 13

The physical expression for the saturation current density can be extracted from the previous expression

JS

p+n

IS

p+n

AD

qDn n po wp

qD p pno Lp

This is only valid for a p+n junction, since it contains the width of the p-type material, wp. For an n+p junction with a thin n+-type region (e.g. an n+p implanted junction)

JS

n+ p

IS

n+ p

AD

qDn n po Ln

qD p pno wn

David J. Walkey

Page 14

Find the saturation current density for a p+n junction with the 1D doping profile shown to the right. Assume the minority lifetime is 0.5 sec, use a uniform doping approximation and assume the width of the neutral p+ region is equal to the material width

David J. Walkey

Page 15

The uniform approximation to the 1D profile is shown to the right. Using the uniform approximation, the doping in the p+ region is 1018 /cm3, and the doping in the n-type region is 8x1015 /cm3. The width of the p+ region, from the location of the metallurgical junction on the plot, is 1 m or 10-4 cm.

David J. Walkey

Page 16

Using the values extracted from the uniform doping approximation

n po 1.45 1010 ) ( . 10 2 / cm 3 = = 21 18 10

2

2

This gives a saturation current density of (Lp was calculated last lecture)

JS

p+n

qDn n po wp

qD p pno Lp

2 4 34 . 9 21 . 10 12 . 4 2 . 6 10 19 . 10 = 16 + 4 10 2.49 10 3

= 3.27 10 11 A / cm 2

David J. Walkey 97.398*, Physical Electronics: Diode Operation (8) Page 17

Reverse bias raises potential of n with respect to p, causes current flow from n to p Two current components:

Injection of holes from n to p, in the direction of current Injection of electrons from p to n, in the opposite direction to current

Note that electrons injected into n, holes injected into p, hence the term majority carrier injection for forward bias

David J. Walkey

Page 18

In reverse bias, injection of majority carriers lowers the value of the minority densities - again note linear behavior in thin p+ region In the neutral regions, the increase is negligible compared to the doping level for moderate bias levels This is therefore again a low level injection situation

p+ implant NA p(x) n-type substrate n(x)

ND

e injection h injection np (x) npo depletion region carrier densities: pno pn (x) equilibrium forward bias

ni2 /ND

ni2 /NA

David J. Walkey

Page 19

Because the boundary conditions used in the forward bias case still apply in reverse bias, the previous current expression also still holds

qDn n po qD p pno qV / kT e D 1) JD = + ( w Lp p

Note that in reverse bias for VD < -3kT/q the exponential term is negligible compared to 1, and JD -JS

David J. Walkey

Page 20

Lecture Summary

pn junction examined in equilibrium, balance between carrier diffusion and opposing electric field Neutral region basically unaffected by carrier exchange, depletion region approximated as empty of free carriers Injection under bias

Minority injection in forward bias Majority injection in reverse bias

Saturation current density JS derived as basic structure dependent parameter in ideal diode equation Computation of JS may require extraction of doping using uniform approximation

David J. Walkey 97.398*, Physical Electronics: Diode Operation (8) Page 21

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