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Industrial Electronics Question Bank with Answers Unit 1 Power Semiconductor devices PART- A (2 MARKS) QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

RS 1. Define Reverse recovery time of POWER DIODE? The reverse recovery time is defined as the time between the instant forward diode current becomes zero and the instant reverse recovery current decays to 25 % of its reverse peak value. 2. Compare power MOSFET with BJT. a. Power MOSFET has lower switching losses but BJT has higher switching losses. b. Power MOSFET has more on state resistance and conduction losses but BJT has lower losses c. MOSFET is voltage controlled device whereas BJT is current controlled device. d. MOSFET has positive temperature coefficient device whereas BJT is current controlled device. 3. Applications of IGBT Medium power applications such as dc & ac motor drives, UPS systems power supplies and drive for solenoids, relays and contractors. 4. Different methods to turn on the thyristors ? GATE TRIGGERING , dv/dt triggering, Temperature triggering and Light triggering. 5. Define Latching Current. The minimum value of anode current which it must attain during turn-on process to maintain conduction when gate signal is removed. 6. What is forced Commutation? In some thyristor circuit, the input voltage is dc and the forward current of the thyristor is forced to zero by an additional circuitry commutation circuit to turn-off the thyristor. This technique is called forced commutation . 7. Define snubber circuit A subber circuit consists of a series combination of resistance Rs and Cs in parallel with the thyristor. It is mainly used for dv/dt protection. 8. Define circuit turn off time Circuit turn off time is defined as the tine between the instant anode current becomes zero and the instant reverse voltage due to practical circuit reaches zero. 9. What is meant by secondary breakdown ? The secondary breakdown is destructive phenomenon, results from the current flow to a small portion of the base producing localised hotspots.. If the energy in these hot spots is sufficient, the excessive localized heating ay damage the transistor. Thus seccondary breakdown is caused by a localised thermal runway, resulting from high current concentrations. 10. What are the advantages of TRIAC? Triac can be triggered with +ve / -ve polarity voltages.

A Triac needs a single fuse protection, which also simplifies the construction. A Triac needs a single heat sink of slightly larger size whereas antiparallel thyristor pair needs two heat sinks. Part B 1. Explain the Construction & Working Principle of Power MOSFET
The Power MOSFET technology has mostly reached maturity and is the most popular device for SMPS, lighting ballast type of application where high switching frequencies are desired but operating voltages are low. Being a voltage fed, majority carrier device (resistive behaviour) with a typically rectangular Safe Operating Area, it can be conveniently utilized. Utilising shared manufacturing processes, comparative costs of MOSFETs are attractive. For low frequency applications, where the currents drawn by the equivalent capacitances across its terminals are small, it can also be driven directly by integrated circuits. These capacitances are the main hindrance to operating the MOSFETS at speeds of several MHz. The resistive characteristics of its main terminals permit easy paralleling externally also. At high current low voltage applications the MOSFET offers best conduction voltage specifications as the R specification is current rating dependent. However, the inferior features of the

inherent anti-parallel diode and its higher conduction losses at power frequencies and voltage levels restrict its wider application.

As mentioned in the introduction section, Power MOSFET is a device that evolved from MOS integrated circuit technology. The first attempts to develop high voltage MOSFETs were by redesigning lateral MOSFET to increase their voltage blocking capacity. The resulting technology was called lateral double deffused MOS (DMOS). However it was soon realized that much larger breakdown voltage and current ratings could be achieved by resorting to a vertically oriented structure. Since then, vertical DMOS (VDMOS) structure has been adapted by virtually all manufacturers of Power MOSFET. A power MOSFET using VDMOS technology has vertically oriented three layer structure of alternating p type and n type semiconductors as shown in Fig 6.2 (a) which is the schematic representation of a single MOSFET cell structure. A large number of such cells are connected in parallel (as shown in Fig 6.2 (b)) to form a complete device. The two n end layers labeled Source and Drain are heavily doped to approximately the same level. The p type middle layer is termed the body (or substrate) and has moderate doping level (2 to 3 orders of magnitude lower than
+ +

n regions on both sides). The n drain drift region has the lowest doping density. Thickness of this region determines the breakdown voltage of the device. The gate terminal is placed

over the n and p type regions of the cell structure and is insulated from the semiconductor body be a thin layer of silicon dioxide (also called the gate oxide). The source and the drain region of all cells on a wafer are connected to the same metallic contacts to form the Source and the Drain terminals of the complete device. Similarly all gate terminals are also connected together. The source is constructed of many (thousands) small polygon shaped areas that are surrounded by the gate regions. The geometric shape of the source regions, to same extent, influences the ON state resistance of the MOSFET.

Operating principle of a MOSFET

At first glance it would appear that there is no path for any current to flow between the source and the drain terminals since at least one of the p n junctions (source body and body-Drain) will be reverse biased for either polarity of the applied voltage between the source and the drain. There is no possibility of current injection from the gate terminal either since the gate oxide is a very good insulator. However, application of a positive voltage at the gate terminal with respect to the source will covert the silicon surface beneath the gate oxide into an n type layer or channel, thus connecting the Source to the Drain as explained next. The gate region of a MOSFET which is composed of the gate metallization, the gate (silicon) oxide layer and the p-body silicon forms a high quality capacitor. When a small voltage is application to this capacitor structure with gate terminal positive with respect to the source (note that body and source are shorted) a depletion region forms at the interface between the SiO and the silicon as shown in Fig 6.4 (a).

The positive charge induced on the gate metallization repels the majority hole carriers from the interface region between the gate oxide and the p type body. This exposes the negatively charged acceptors and a depletion region is created. Further increase in V causes the depletion layer to grow in thickness. At the same time the electric

field at the oxide-silicon interface gets larger and begins to attract free electrons as shown in Fig 6.4 (b). The immediate source of electron is electron-hole generation by thermal ionization. The holes are repelled into the semiconductor bulk ahead of the depletion region. The extra holes are neutralized by electrons from the source. As V increases further the density of free electrons at the interface becomes equal to the free hole

density in the bulk of the body region beyond the depletion layer. The layer of free electrons at the interface is called the inversion layer and is shown in Fig 6.4 (c). The inversion layer has all the properties of an n type semiconductor and is a conductive path or channel between the drain and the source which permits flow of current between the drain and the source. Since current conduction in this device takes place through an n- type channel created by the electric field due to gate source voltage it is called Enhancement type n-channel MOSFET. The value of V at which the inversion layer is considered to have formed is called the Gate

Source threshold voltage V


(th). As V


is increased beyond V (th) the inversion layer


gets some what thicker and more conductive, since the density of free electrons increases

further with increase in V . The inversion layer screens the depletion layer adjacent to it

from increasing V . The depletion layer thickness now remains constant.


2. Explain the Construction & Working Principle of Power TRIAC. Discuss its four modes of operations Fig. 4.12 (a) and (b) show the circuit symbol and schematic cross section of a triac respective. As the Triac can conduct in both the directions the terms anode and cathode are not used for Triacs. The three terminals are marked as MT (Main Terminal 1), MT

(Main Terminal 2) and the gate by G. As shown in Fig 4.12 (b) the gate terminal is near MT
3 2 1

and is connected to both N and P regions by metallic contact. Similarly MT is connected to N and P regions while MT is connected to N and P regions.
2 2 2 4 1

Since a Triac is a bidirectional device and can have its terminals at various combinations of positive and negative voltages, there are four possible electrode potential combinations as given below 1. MT positive with respect to MT , G positive with respect to MT
2 2 2 2 1 1 1

2. MT positive with respect to MT , G negative with respect to MT

1 1

1 1

3. MT negative with respect to MT , G negative with respect to MT 4. MT negative with respect to MT , G positive with respect to MT

The triggering sensitivity is highest with the combinations 1 and 3 and are generally used. However, for bidirectional control and uniforms gate trigger mode sometimes trigger modes 2 and 3 are used. Trigger mode 4 is usually averded. Fig 4.13 (a) and (b) explain the conduction mechanism of a triac in trigger modes 1 & 3 respectively.

In trigger mode-1 the gate current flows mainly through the P N junction like an ordinary thyristor.
2 2

When the gate current has injected sufficient charge into P layer the triac starts conducting through

the P N P N layers like an ordinary thyristor.

1 1 2 2

In the trigger mode-3 the gate current I forward biases the P P junction and a large number of
g 2 3

electrons are introduced in the P region by N . Finally the structure P N P N turns on completely.
2 3 2 1 1 4

From a functional point of view a triac is similar to two thyristors connected in anti parallel.
st rd

Therefore, it is expected that the V-I characteristics of Triac in the 1 and 3 quadrant of the V-I plane will be similar to the forward characteristics of a thyristors. As shown in Fig. 4.14, with no signal to the gate the triac will block both half cycle of the applied ac voltage provided its peak value is lower than the break over voltage (V ) of the device. However, the turning on of the triac can be

controlled by applying the gate trigger pulse at the desired instance. Mode-1 triggering is used in the first quadrant where as Mode-3 triggering is used in the third quadrant. As such, most of the thyristor characteristics apply to the triac (ie, latching and holding current). However, in a triac the two conducting paths (from MT to MT or from MT to MT ) interact with each other in the structure of
1 2 1 1

the triac. Therefore, the voltage, current and frequency ratings of triacs are considerably lower than thyristors. At present triacs with voltage and current ratings of 1200V and 300A (rms) are available. Triacs also have a larger on state voltage drop compared to a thyristor. Manufacturers usually specify characteristics curves relating rms device current and maximum allowable case temperature as shown in Fig 4.15. Curves relating the device dissipation and RMS on state current are also provided for different conduction angles.

3. Explain the Construction & Working Principle of IGBT

The introduction of Power MOSFET was originally regarded as a major threat to the power bipolar transistor. However, initial claims of infinite current gain for the power MOSFETs were diluted by the need to design the gate drive circuit capable of supplying the charging and discharging current of the device input capacitance. This is especially true in high frequency circuits where the power MOSFET is particularly valuable due to its inherently high switching speed. On the other hand, MOSFETs have a higher on state resistance per unit area and consequently higher on state loss. This is particularly true for higher voltage devices (greater than about 500 volts) which restricted the use of MOSFETs to low voltage high frequency circuits (eg. SMPS).

Constructional Features of an IGBT

Vertical cross section of a n channel IGBT cell is shown in Fig 7.1. Although p channel IGBTs are possible n channel devices are more common and will be the one discussed in this lesson.

The i-v characteristics of an n channel IGBT is shown in Fig 7.4 (a). They appear qualitatively similar to those of a logic level BJT except that the controlling parameter is not a base current but the gate-emitter voltage. When the gate emitter voltage is below the threshold voltage only a very small leakage current flows though the device while the collector emitter voltage almost equals the supply voltage (point C in Fig 7.4(a)). The device, under this condition is said to be operating in the cut off region. The maximum forward voltage the device can withstand in this mode (marked V in Fig

7.4 (a)) is determined by the avalanche break down voltage of the body drain p-n junction. Unlike a BJT, however, this break down voltage is independent of the collector current as shown in Fig 7.4(a). IGBTs of Non-punch through design can block a maximum reverse voltage (V )

equal to V


in the cut off mode. However, for Punch Through IGBTs V


is negligible (only a

few tens of volts) due the presence of the heavily doped n+ drain buffer layer. As the gate emitter voltage increases beyond the threshold voltage the IGBT enters into the active region of operation. In this mode, the collector current i is determined by the transfer

characteristics of the device as shown in Fig 7.4(b). This characteristic is qualitatively similar to

that of a power MOSFET and is reasonably linear over most of the collector current range. The ratio of i to (V v ) is called the forward transconductance (g ) of the device and is an
c gE gE(th) fs

important parameter in the gate drive circuit design. The collector emitter voltage, on the other hand, is determined by the external load line ABC as shown in Fig 7.4(a). The switching waveforms of an IGBT is, in many respects, similar to that of a Power MOSFET. This is expected, since the input stage of an IGBT is a MOSFET as shown in Fig 7.5(b). Also in a modern IGBT a major portion of the total device current flows through the MOSFET. Therefore, the switching voltage and current waveforms exhibit a strong similarity with those of a MOSFET. However, the output p-n-p transistor does have a significant effect on the switching characteristics of the device, particularly during turn off. Another important difference is in the gate drive requirement. To avoid dynamic latch up, (to be discussed later) the gate emitter voltage of an IGBT is maintained at a negative value when the device is off.

4. Explain the Construction & Working Principle of SCR

As shown in Fig 4.1 (b) the primary crystal is of lightly doped n type on either side of which two p type layers with doping levels higher by two orders of magnitude are grown. As in the case of power

diodes and transistors depletion layer spreads mainly into the lightly doped n region. The thickness of this layer is therefore determined by the required blocking voltage of the device. However, due to conductivity modulation by carriers from the heavily doped p regions on both side during ON condition the ON state voltage drop is less. The outer n layers are formed with doping levels higher then both the p type layers. The top p layer acls as the Anode terminal while the bottom n layers acts as the Cathode. The Gate terminal connections are made to the bottom p layer. As it will be shown later, that for better switching performance it is required to maximize the peripheral contact area of the gate and the cathode regions. Therefore, the cathode regions are finely distributed between gate contacts of the p type layer. An Involute structure for both the gate and the cathode regions is a preferred design structure. The circuit symbol in the left hand side inset defines the polarity conventions of the variables used in this figure. With ig = 0, V has to increase up to forward break over voltage V before significant anode
AK BRF + +

current starts flowing. However, at V



forward break over takes place and the voltage across the

thyristor drops to V (holding voltage). Beyond this point voltage across the thyristor (V ) remains almost constant at V (1-1.5v) while the anode current is determined by the external load.

The magnitude of gate current has a very strong effect on the value of the break over voltage as shown in the figure. The right hand side figure in the inset shows a typical plot of the forward break over voltage (V ) as a function of the gate current (I )

After Turn ON the thyristor is no more affected by the gate current. Hence, any current pulse (of required magnitude) which is longer than the minimum needed for Turn ON is sufficient to effect control. The minimum gate pulse width is decided by the external circuit and should be long enough to allow the anode current to rise above the latching current (I ) level.

The left hand side of Fig 4.3 shows the reverse i-v characteristics of the thyristor. Once the thyristor is ON the only way to turn it OFF is by bringing the thyristor current below holding current (I ). The

gate terminal has no control over the turn OFF process. In ac circuits with resistive load this happens automatically during negative zero crossing of the supply voltage. This is called natural commutation or line commutation. However, in dc circuits some arrangement has to be made to ensure this condition. This process is called forced commutation. During reverse blocking if i = 0 then only reverse saturation current (I ) flows until the reverse
g s

voltage reaches reverse break down voltage (V


). At this point current starts rising sharply. Large


reverse voltage and current generates excessive heat and destroys the device. If i > 0 during reverse bias condition the reverse saturation current rises as explained in the previous section. This can be avoided by removing the gate current while the thyristor is reverse biased.

Switching Characteristics of a Thyristor

During Turn on and Turn off process a thyristor is subjected to different voltages across it and different currents through it. The time variations of the voltage across a thyristor and the current through it during Turn on and Turn off constitute the switching characteristics of a thyristor.

Turn on Switching Characteristics

A forward biased thyristor is turned on by applying a positive gate voltage between the gate and cathode as shown in Fig 4.10.

Fig 4.10 shows the waveforms of the gate current (i ), anode current (i ) and anode cathode voltage
g A

(V ) in an expanded time scale during Turn on. The reference circuit and the associated waveforms

are shown in the inset. The total switching period being much smaller compared to the cycle time, i and V As shown in Fig 4.10 there is a transition time t from forward off state to forward on state. This

before and after switching will appear flat.

transition time is called the thyristor turn of time and can be divided into three separate intervals namely, (i) delay time (t ) (ii) rise time (t ) and (iii) spread time (t ). These times are shown in Fig
d r p

4.10 for a resistive load.

Turn off Switching Characteristics

Once the thyristor is on, and its anode current is above the latching current level the gate loses control. It can be turned off only by reducing the anode current below holding current. The turn off time t of a thyristor is defined as the time between the instant anode current becomes zero and the

instant the thyristor regains forward blocking capability. If forward voltage is applied across the device during this period the thyristor turns on again. During turn off time, excess minority carriers from all the four layers of the thyristor must be removed. Accordingly t is divided in to two intervals, the reverse recovery time (t ) and the gate
q rr

recovery time (t ). Fig 4.11 shows the variation of anode current and anode cathode voltage with

time during turn off operation on an expanded scale.

5. Discuss the types of Power DIODES. Mention its rating, applications As mention in the introduction Power Diodes of largest power rating are required to conduct several kilo amps of current in the forward direction with very little power loss while blocking several kilo volts in the reverse direction. Large blocking voltage requires wide depletion layer in order to restrict the maximum electric field strength below the impact ionization level. Space charge density in the depletion layer should also be low in order to yield a wide depletion layer for a given maximum Electric fields strength. These two requirements will be satisfied in a lightly doped p-n junction diode of sufficient width to accommodate the required depletion layer.

To arrive at the structure shown in Fig 2.3 (c) a lightly doped n epitaxial layer of specified width (depending on the required break down voltage) and donor atom density (N ) is
dD + -3 dK

grown on a heavily doped n substrate (N

donor atoms.Cm ) which acts as the cathode.

-3 + aA

Finally the p-n junction is formed by defusing a heavily doped (N acceptor atoms.Cm ) p region into the epitaxial layer. This p type region acts as the anode.
-3 19 dk -3 aA -3

Impurity atom densities in the heavily doped cathode (N .Cm ) and anode (N .Cm ) are approximately of the same order of magnitude (10 Cm ) while that of the epitaxial layer

(also called the drift region) is lower by several orders of magnitude (N




Cm ). In a

low power diode this drift region is absent. The Implication of introducing this drift region in a power diode is explained next.

In the previous section it was shown how the introduction of a lightly doped drift region in the p-n structure of a diode boosts its blocking voltage capacity. It may appear that this lightly doped drift region will offer high resistance during forward conduction. However, the effective resistance of this region in the ON state is much less than the apparent ohmic resistance calculated on the basis of the geometric size and the thermal equilibrium carrier densities. This is due to substantial injection of
+ + +

excess carriers from both the p and the n regions in the drift region as explained next. As the metallurgical p n junction becomes forward biased there will be injection of excess p type carrier into the n side. At low level of injections (i.e << n ) all excess p type carriers recombine
p no -

with n type carriers in the n drift region. However at high level of injection (i.e large forward current
+ + +

density) the excess p type carrier density distribution reaches the n n junction and attracts electron from the n cathode. This leads to electron injection into the drift region across the n n junction with carrier densities = . This mechanism is called double injection
n p

Power Diodes take finite time to make transition from reverse bias to forward bias condition (switch ON) and vice versa (switch OFF). Behavior of the diode current and voltage during these switching periods are important due to the following reasons. Severe over voltage / over current may be caused by a diode switching at different points in the circuit using the diode. Voltage and current exist simultaneously during switching operation of a diode. Therefore, every switching of the diode is associated with some energy loss. At high switching frequency this may contribute significantly to the overall power loss in the diode. It is observed that the forward diode voltage during turn ON may transiently reach a significantly higher value V compared to the steady slate voltage drop at the steady current I .
fr F

In some power converter circuits (e.g voltage source inverter) where a free wheeling diode is used across an asymmetrical blocking power switch (i.e GTO) this transient over voltage may be high enough to destroy the main power switch. V (called forward recovery voltage) is given as a function of the forward di/dt in the

manufacturers data sheet. Typical values lie within the range of 10-30V. Forward recovery time (t ) is typically within 10 us.

6. Discuss the turn on methods of SCR

Fig 4.10 shows the waveforms of the gate current (i ), anode current (i ) and anode cathode
g A

voltage (V ) in an expanded time scale during Turn on. The reference circuit and the

associated waveforms are shown in the inset. The total switching period being much smaller compared to the cycle time, i and V before and after switching will appear flat. As shown in Fig 4.10 there is a transition time t from forward off state to forward on state.

This transition time is called the thyristor turn of time and can be divided into three separate intervals namely, (i) delay time (t ) (ii) rise time (t ) and (iii) spread time (t ). These times are
d r p

shown in Fig 4.10 for a resistive load. Delay time (t ): After switching on the gate current the thyristor will start to conduct over the

portion of the cathode which is closest to the gate. This conducting area starts spreading at a finite speed until the entire cathode region becomes conductive. Time taken by this process constitute the turn on delay time of a thyristor. It is measured from the instant of application of the gate current to

the instant when the anode current rises to 10% of its final value (or V value). Typical valu e of t is a few micro seconds.


falls to 90% of its initial

Rise time (tr): For a resistive load, rise time is the time taken by the anode current to rise from 10% of its final value to 90% of its final value. At the same time the voltage V falls from 90% of

its initial value to 10% of its initial value. However, current rise and voltage fall characteristics are strongly influenced by the type of the load. For inductive load the voltage falls faster than the current. While for a capacitive load V falls rapidly in the beginning. However, as the current increases, rate

of change of anode voltage substantially decreases. If the anode current rises too fast it tends to remain confined in a small area. This can give rise to local hot spots and damage the device. Therefore, it is necessary to limit the rate of rise of the ON state current Adidt by using an inductor in series with the device. Usual values of maximum allowable Adidt is in the range of 20-200 A/s. Spread time (tp): It is the time taken by the anode current to rise from 90% of its final value to 100%. During this time conduction spreads over the entire cross section of the cathode of the thyristor. The spreading interval depends on the area of the cathode and on the gate structure of the thyristor. Forward voltage trigerring Gate trigerring LASCR dv/dt trigerring di/dt trigerring