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Karryle Wenzel Ashley Mendoza, Mc Jason Laurete, Jessequiel Tocaldo, Carol Gean Dael, Christian Arquillano
Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan, Department of Chemical Engineering, Cagayan de Oro City
ABSTRACT. The diode curve for a small-signal silicon diode was determined experimentally by measuring the current passing through
the diode over various level of voltage applied. Results show that as voltage applied is increased, the current that passes through it
increases almost exponentially.
KEYWORDS: Diode, Silicon


The experiment aims to determine and plot the voltage drop

and current around the diode placed in a circuit. A diode is an
electrical component acting as a one-way valve for current, this is
classified as forward biased and backward biased. [1]
A diode is classified as forward biased when the voltage is
applied in such a way that the diode allows current while a
backward biased diode prohibits current. The most common
example for a forward diode is a silicon diode [Fig. 1] and for the
backward biased diode is the germanium diode [Fig. 2].

FIGURE 3. Current-voltage relations of germanium and silicon diodes

The voltage dropped across a conducting, forward-biased
diode is called the forward voltage. Forward voltage for a diode
varies only slightly for changes in forward current and
temperature, and is fixed by the chemical composition of the P-N
junction. The maximum reverse-bias voltage that a diode can
withstand is called the Peak Inverse Voltage beyond this the diode
FIGURE 1. A silicon diode (left) and a Germanium Diode (right) experiences breakdown. [3] Breakdown happens when voltage
The most important diode characteristic is its current-voltage applied across the diode is very large and negative to the point that
(i-v) relationship. This defines what the current running through a the diode will not be able to withstand it.
component is, given what voltage is measured across it.[2]
Resistors, for example, have a simple linear i-v relationship called
the Ohms Law while the i-v curve of a diode is entirely non- The experiment aims to determine and plot the voltage drop
linear. [Fig. 2] and current around the diode placed in a circuit.


Using the ohmmeter, the diodes forward resistance and

reverse resistance was measured. The circuit was connected
following the connection in fig. 3a and the voltage source, vl, was
adjusted to 10V. The corresponding diode voltage was measured
and recorded. The circuit was then connected according to fig.3b.
This is for the next resistor and the diode voltage v was read and
Using fig.3c for the circuit connection, the voltage source was
adjusted to produce certain load voltages where the diode voltage
was read and recorded. Using Ohms law, the current through the
diode was calculated.


The experiment aims to determine the relationship between

FIGURE 2. I-V curve of a diode the current and voltage of a diode. The values for these two
parameters were obtained through experimentation and were then interdependent. More current means more voltage, less voltage
used to solve for the diode resistance. means less current. Once the voltage gets to about the forward
voltage rating, though, large increases in current should still only
TABLE 1 mean a very small increase in voltage. If a diode is fully
High and Low Voltage conducting, it can usually be assumed that the voltage across it is
RL () VL (V) V (V) I (mA) R () the forward voltage rating. [4]

682 10 10.15 21.2 507.08 When the diode is forward biased, anode positive with respect
to the cathode, a forward or positive current passes through the
5080 10 10.68 2.02 5.27 diode and operates in the top right quadrant of its I-V
characteristics curves. Starting at the zero intersection, the curve
TABLE 2 increases gradually into the forward quadrant but the forward
Moderate Voltage current and voltage are extremely small. When the forward
VL (V) V (V) I R () voltage exceeds the diodes P-N junctions internal barrier voltage,
which for silicon is about 0.7 volts, avalanche occurs and the
0.170 0.67 60.0 A 11233.33 forward current increases rapidly for a very small increase in
0.509 1.04 164.1 A 6337.60 voltage producing a non-linear curve. The knee point on the
1.02 1.59 326.9 A 4863.86 forward curve. [5]
2.00 2.60 0.91 mA 2857.14 V. ERROR ANALYSIS
4.00 4.64 1.82 mA 2549.45
The main source error were that the multitester was only
6.03 6.68 2.75 mA 2429.09
limited to two (not sure) significant figures so in some cases the
8.01 8.65 3.67 mA 2356.94 values that were measured were small thus may result into
10.00 10.74 4.58 mA 2344.98 inaccurate calculations. Another source of error is that the
resistance of the resistors used were from the values given by its
color coding so when checked by the ohmmeter the values from
the color coding were slightly off from the exact value from the
reading of the ohmmeter.

[1] Tooley, Mike (2012). Electronic Circuits: Fundamentals and
Applications, 3rd Ed.Routlege. p. 81.
3.0 [2] https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/diodes (Retrieved
August 2017)
[3] https://www.allaboutcircuits.com/textbook/semiconductors/
2.0 chpt-3/introduction-to-diodes-and-rectifiers/ (Retrieved
August 2017)
[4] https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/diodes/real-diode-
1.0 characteristics
[5] http://www.electronics-tutorials.ws/blog/i-v-characteristic-
0.0 curves.html
0.50 0.55 0.60 0.65 0.70 0.75 0.80

FIGURE 4. Diode Curve (Current vs. Voltage)

As can be seen from the graph, the value of voltage increases
as the value of current increases. Though not in a linear manner,
Ohm Law is observed to have also been followed in this graph.
These results are expected as we are working on a Forward Biased
In order to turn on and conduct current in the forward
direction, a diode requires a certain amount of positive voltage to
be applied across it. The typical voltage required to turn the diode
on is called the forward voltage (VF). It might also be called
either the cut-in voltage or on-voltage. As we know from the i-
v curve, the current through and voltage across a diode are