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UNIJUNCTION TRANSISTOR (UJT) A unijunction transistor, commonly referred to as a UJT, is a three- terminal device. It is made of a lightly doped (high resistance) silicon bar, which can either be an n-type or p-type. An n-type UJT using an n-type silicon bar is shown in Figure-1. A highly doped p-type emitter (E) is placed near to the one end of the bar. This end of the bar is labeled as Base-1 (B1). The other end of the bar is Base-2 (B2). A p-n junction is formed between the emitter and the bar. A connection is made to the diffused p-type region and is referred to as the emitter (E).

Base-2 (B2)

n
n

n

n
n
p
p

Emitter (E)

Base-1 (B1)

n-type silicon bar

Figure-1: An n-type unijunction transistor

The bar has a high resistance between the two base ends B1 and B2.

The total resistance, also known as the interbase resistance

consists of two resistances in series: one from B2 to E,

between E and B1,

R BB

of the bar

R B2

; and the other

R B1

. Thus, the total resistance is

R

BB

= R

B2

+ R

B1

(1)

The p-n junction behaves like a diode and has a forward voltage drop that can be assume as 0.7 V. The detailed and simplified equivalent circuits of a UJT are given in Figure-2.

Guru/PEAC2AC/UJT/ February 13, 2006

1

Unijunction Transistor

B2 + R B2 + v − D E V + V EB _ R
B2
+
R B2
+
v
D
E
V
+
V EB
_
R B1

(a)

B1

_

BB

B2 E + V EB
B2
E
+
V EB

_ B1

(b)

+

V BB

_

Figure-2: (a) Detailed, and (b) simplified equivalent circuits of a UJT

When a positive voltage

V BB

is applied at B2 with respect to B1, the

current in the n-bar is so small that it can be assumed as zero. The UJT is OFF.

Let us now apply a positive voltage

remains OFF until

soon as

current

the condition for the device to turn on. As soon as the emitter current begins to flow, the region between the emitter junction and the base B1 is flooded by holes (positive charges from the heavily doped p-region). Consequently, its conductivity goes up and the

resistance of the region

to-base voltage and increases the emitter current. This phenomenon continues until the emitter-to-base voltage becomes very small. This voltage is known as

the valley-point emitter voltage ( V

V

EB at E with respect to B1. The device

V

EB

= V

P

, where

V

P is known as the peak-point voltage. As

ON if and only if the emitter

I

V

E

EB

tends to go above

I

P

, where

V

P , the UJT will turn

I

P is the peak-point emitter current. Consider this as

R B1

decreases a lot. This in turn decreases the emitter-

V ). The emitter current corresponding to the

valley voltage is called the valley-point emitter current ( I ) as shown in

Figure-3.

V

Guru/PEAC2AC/UJT/ February 13, 2006

2

Unijunction Transistor

I E Negative resistance region I I V P V EB V V V P
I
E
Negative resistance region
I
I V
P
V EB
V
V
V
P

Figure-3: Voltage-current characteristic of a UJT

Note that the peak-point voltage depends upon the applied voltage between the two bases such that

V

P

=

R

B1

R

BB

V

BB

+

V

D

It is commonly expressed as

where

V

P

η =

= ηV

R

B1

BB

R

BB

+ V

D

(2)

is the intrinsic stand-off ratio. The intrinsic stand-off ratio is usually specified by the manufacturer. For example, for a 2N4948 or 2N4949 UJT, the following information is available. Symbol Minimum Typical Maximum

η

R

I

I

P

V

BB

,

,

,k

µA

mA

V

EB(SAT )

,

V

Max. f, kHz

0.55

------

0.86

4

7

12

------

0.6

2

2

4

-----

-----

2.5

3

----

400

-----

Guru/PEAC2AC/UJT/ February 13, 2006

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Unijunction Transistor

In order to obtain an output signal from the UJT, we use external resistors

R 1 and R 2 as shown in Figure-4. These external resistors are usually small
R
1 and
R
2 as shown in Figure-4. These external resistors are usually small as
compared to
R
BB , so they may be ignored in making the calculations.
V
V
BB
BB
R
R
2
R
2
v
R
B2
B2
B2
v
B2
R
+
v
B2
E
D
E
+
v
+
R
C
B1
B1
B1
v
C (t)
C
_
V
R
P
B1
v
1
B1
R
_
1

Figure-4: Application of a UJT: (a) Actual circuit, (b) Detailed circuit

The exact expression for the peak-point voltage is

V

P

=

V

BB

R

B1

+

R

1

R

BB

+

R

1

+

R

2

+ V

D

The approximate expression, when the external resistors are ignored, is

V

P

= V

BB

R

B1

R

BB

+

V

D

= η

V

BB

+

V

D

(3)

The capacitor in the circuit begins to charge through R and the corresponding differential equation is

Its general solution:

RC

dv

C

(t)

+

v

C

(t)

dt

=

V

BB

v

+

C

(t)

Ae

=

V

BB

t / RC

At t=0, the voltage drop across C is

oscillating for a long time. If the circuit is used as a delayed circuit (to be discussed next), the initial voltage drop across C can be taken as zero.

V

V as long as the circuit has been

Guru/PEAC2AC/UJT/ February 13, 2006

4

Unijunction Transistor

Thus,

Hence,

A = V

V

v

C

(t)

=

V

V

BB

BB

(

V

BB

V

V

)

e

t / RC

Let us assume that the capacitor takes

T

CH

seconds to charge to

Thus, the charging time:

T

CH

=

RC ln

V

 

V

V

V

BB

BB

V

P

 

At this time the device will start conducting as long as

I

E

I

P

.

However,

I

E

=

V

BB

V

P

R

By equation the emitter current to the peak-value current,

V

P

I

E

.

= I

P

,

(4)

we

can

obtain the maximum value of R that will ensure conduction as

R

MAX

=

V

BB

V

P

I

P

(5)

falls to a very low

value and the capacitor discharges through

all practical purposes we can assume that the time period of the output pulse is

nearly equal to

+ R almost in no time. Thus, for

Once the device switches on, the base resistance

T

CH

.

R

B1

1

R B1

Let us simplify the expression by assuming that V

V

0,

and

V

D

can be

neglected as long as

ηV

BB

T

CH

>> V

D

, then

RC ln

1

1

− η

(6)

This expression, albeit approximate, is independent of the applied voltage

V BB

. When the capacitor voltage drops below

V

V , the device will shut off. In

other words, to turn off the device, we should ascertain that

V

BB

V

V

I

E

=

R

V

BB

R

V

V

I

V

or

I V

Guru/PEAC2AC/UJT/ February 13, 2006

5

Unijunction Transistor

The equality sign in the above equation yield the minimum value of R as

R MIN

=

V

BB

V

V

I

V

(7)

If we select R such that

R

MIN

< R < R

MAX

to oscillate with the oscillation frequency of

f

1 1

T CH

=

RC ln

V

V

V

V

P

BB

V

BB

, the device will make the circuit

(8)

When

R < R

MIN

, the device will stay on forever. On the other hand, when

R > R

MAX

, the device will never turn on.

Figure-5 shows the various waveforms when the device acts as an oscillator.

v C (t) t (s)
v
C (t)
t (s)

v

v

(t) B1 V BB (t) B2 2T 3T 4T T CH CH CH CH
(t)
B1
V BB
(t)
B2
2T
3T
4T
T CH
CH
CH
CH

t (s)

t (s)

Figure-5: Various waveforms of a UJT oscillator

Guru/PEAC2AC/UJT/ February 13, 2006

6

Unijunction Transistor

Example: The following information is available for a UJT: V

V =

2

V,

I

V

=10 mA,

η=0.6,

R

BB

=

10

k, and

I

P =1 µA. If the forward voltage drop of the diode is

0.5 V, the applied dc voltage is 20 V,

that the oscillation frequency is about 100 Hz.

Solution: Although

that we should still use it and its value can be approximated as

R =100 and C = 1µF, determine R so

1

R

2 is not needed, the “Motorola Engineers Report” suggests

R

2

= 0.015η R

BB

V

S

= 0.015 × 0.6 ×10,000 × 20 = 1800

As you may have guessed it, it is not really a small resistor.

Let us select a value of 2 k

From (2):

We can now determine the peak-point voltage using the exact expression as

for

BB

R

2 .

= 0.6 ×10 = 0.6 k

R

B1

= η R

V

P

=

V

BB

R

B1

+

R

1

R

BB

+

R

1

+

R

2

+ V

D

=

20

6

+

0.1

10

+

0.1

+

2

+

0.5

=

10.58

V

For a frequency of 100 Hz, the time period, is

T =

1

=

1

= 0.01

s.

f

100

Neglecting the discharging time, the charging time is

From (4):

or

T

CH

T CH

0.01

=

=

T

=

0.01

s

V

BB

RC ln

V

V

×

V

BB

10

6

) ln

V

P

20

2

R(1

20

10.58

R = 15.443 k

For sustained oscillations, R must be within its minimum and maximum values as

computed below.

R

R

MIN

MAX

=

=

V

BB

V

V

20

2

I

V

10

×

10

=

3 =

V

BB

V

P

20

10.58

=

I

P

1

×

10

6

1.8

k

=

9.42

M

The circuit oscillates because R fulfills the requirements.

Guru/PEAC2AC/UJT/ February 13, 2006

7

Unijunction Transistor

If we had the freedom to choose both R and C, we could have chosen R as the

geometric mean of the minimum and maximum resistances. That is,

R = R R = 1.8 × 9420 = 130.2 kΩ MAX MIN
R
=
R
R
=
1.8
×
9420
=
130.2
kΩ
MAX
MIN

Had we selected R = 130 k, then the capacitor would have been

C =

0.01

130

×

10

3

ln

20

2

20

10.58

=

118.79

×

10

9

F

Hence, we could have used C = 120 nF

With these selected values, the time period is

Finally,

T CH

f =

=

V

BB

RC ln

V

V

V

BB

V

P

= (130

×

3

10 )(120

×

1

=

0.0101

98.99

Hz

10

9

) ln  

20

2

20

10.58

  =0.0101 s

This frequency is about 1% lower than its desired value of 100 Hz. This is well

within the approximations and the tolerances of the components.

Guru/PEAC2AC/UJT/ February 13, 2006

8

Unijunction Transistor

Parameters for UJT: η=0.66, V

Problems: UJT

D =

0.5

V, I

V =

4

mA,

I

P

=

10 µA, and

V

V

=

1

V.

D = 0.5 V, I V = 4 mA, I P = 10 µ A, and

1. In the circuit of Figure P1, R = 10 k,

C

= 2µF ,

R

2

= R

1

= 100

, and

V

BB

=

24V

. Will the circuit oscillate? If yes, what is its oscillation

frequency? Neatly sketch and label the voltage drop across the capacitor. What is the range of frequencies that can be obtained by varying R?

2. In Figure P1, if R is a 5-kresistor in series with a 100-k

potentiometer, C is 0.068 µF, and V

maximum oscillation frequencies?

Guru/PEAC2AC/UJT/ February 13, 2006

9

BB

= 10V

, what are the minimum and

Unijunction Transistor