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Electronic Instrumentation Experiment 6: Diodes * Part A: Diode I-V Characteristics * Part B: Rectifiers Part C: PN Junction Voltage Limitation Part D: Zener Diode Voltage Regulator

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Diodes w A diode can be considered to be an electrical one-way valve. w They are made from a large variety of materials including silicon, germanium, gallium arsenide, silicon carbide …

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Diodes w In effect, diodes act like a flapper valve Note: this is the simplest possible model of a diode

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Diodes w For the flapper valve, a small positive pressure is required to open. w Likewise, for a diode, a small positive voltage is required to turn it on. This voltage is like the voltage required to power some electrical device. It is used up turning the device on so the voltages at the two ends of the diode will differ. The voltage required to turn on a diode is typically around 0.6-0.8 volt for a standard silicon diode and a few volts for a light emitting diode (LED)

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Diodes w 10 volt sinusoidal voltage source w Connect to a resistive load through a diode This combination is called a half-wave rectifier

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Diodes w Sinusoidal Voltage

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Diodes w Half-wave rectifier

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At the junction, free electrons from the N-type material fill holes from the P- type material. This creates an insulating layer in the middle of the diode called the depletion zone.

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Part A: Diode i-v Characteristics

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Diode V-I Characteristic w For ideal diode, current flows only one way w Real diode is close to ideal Ideal Diode

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Diode Characteristics w A very large current can flow when the diode is forward biased. For power diodes, currents of a few amps can flow with bias voltages of 0.6 to 1.5V. Note that the textbook generally uses 0.6V as the standard value, but 0.7V is more typical for the devices we will use in class. w Reverse breakdown voltages can be as low as 50V and as large as 1000V. w Reverse saturation currents I s are around 1nA.

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Diode Characteristics w The i D -v D relationship (excluding breakdown) can be written simply as: w Note that for v D less than zero, the exponential term vanishes and the current i D is roughly equal to the saturation current. w For v D greater than zero, the current increases exponentially.

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Diode Characteristics w Recall that the i-v relationship for a resistor is given by Ohm’s Law: v=Ri w If we plot this expression, we obtain v i The slope of the straight line is given by the resistance R

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i-v Characteristics w PSpice can be used to obtain such plots

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i-v Characteristics w Both the simulated current vs. voltage and the characteristic equation for the diode are plotted iDiD

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i-v Characteristics w In this experiment, you are asked to find the parameters for the equation w That is, you need to find the constants in this equation so that it matches what PSpice determines. Note that V T =25mV, so you need to find n and I s

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i-v Characteristics w The i-v characteristic can be checked by building the circuit and measuring the same two voltages shown on the diode circuit. w From these voltages and the value of the resistance, both the current through the diode and the voltage across the diode can be determined.

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Part B: Rectifiers

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Rectifiers w As noted above, the main purpose of diodes is to limit the flow of current to one direction. w Since current will flow in only one direction, even for a sinusoidal voltage source, all voltages across resistors will have the same sign. w Thus, a voltage which alternately takes positive and negative values is converted into a voltage that is either just positive or just negative.

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Rectifiers w If a time-varying voltage is only positive or only negative all of the time, then it will have a DC offset, even if the original voltage had no offset. w Thus, by rectifying a sinusoidal signal and then filtering out the remaining time- varying signal, we obtain a DC voltage from an AC source.

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Diodes – Recall from Previous Slide w 10 volt sinusoidal voltage source w Connect to a resistive load through a diode This combination is called a half-wave rectifier

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Diodes w Sinusoidal Voltage

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Diodes w Half-wave rectifier

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Diodes w Note that the resulting voltage is only positive and a little smaller than the original voltage, since a small voltage (around 0.7V) is required to turn on the diode. 0.7V

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Diodes w Filtering can be performed by adding a capacitor across the load resistor w Do you recognize this RC combination as a low pass filter? w You will see how this looks both with PSpice and experimentally

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Diodes w The rectifier we have just seen is called a half-wave rectifier since it only uses half of the sinusoidal voltage w A full-wave rectifier uses both the positive and negative half cycles of the sinusoid

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Full-Wave Rectifier Shown are the original voltage, the rectified voltage and the smoothed voltage Capacitor Discharging

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Full Wave Rectifier w Note path of current when source is positive

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Full Wave Rectifier 1.4V (2 diodes)

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Full Wave Rectifier With Smoothing

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Smoothed Voltage

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Part C: PN Junction Voltage Limitation

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Voltage Limitation w In many applications, we need to protect our circuits so that large voltages are not applied to their inputs w We can keep voltages below 0.7V by placing two diodes across the load

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Voltage Limitation w When the source voltage is smaller than 0.7V, the voltage across the diodes will be equal to the source w When the source voltage is larger than 0.7V, the voltage across the diodes will be 0.7V w The sinusoidal source will be badly distorted into almost a square wave, but the voltage will not be allowed to exceed 0.7 V w You will observe this with both PSpice and experimentally

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Voltage Limitation w Case 1: The magnitude of the diode voltage is less than 0.7 V (turn on voltage) Diodes act like open circuits

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Voltage Limitation w Case 2: The magnitude of the diode voltage is greater than 0.7 V (turn on voltage) Diodes act like voltage sources

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Voltage Limitation w Case 2: The current drawn by the diode is given by the resistor current

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Voltage Limitation

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Input Protection Circuits w More than one diode can be connected in series to increase the range of permitted voltages

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Part D: Zener Diodes

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Zener Diodes w Up to this point, we have not taken full advantage of the reverse biased part of the diode characteristic.

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Zener Diodes w For the 1N4148 diode, the breakdown voltage is very large. If we can build a different type of diode with this voltage in a useful range (a few volts to a few hundred volts), we can use such devices to regulate voltages. This type of diode is called a Zener diode because of how the device is made.

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Zener Diodes w You will again find the i-v characteristic with PSpice and experimentally. w Such circuits can be used in combination with the rectifier and filtering to obtain a well regulated DC voltage.

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Zener Diodes w Note that, for a real Zener diode, a finite current (called the knee current) is required to get into the region of voltage regulation w V Z is the Zener Voltage Knee Current

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Zener Diodes w Note the voltage limitation for both positive and negative source voltages

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Zener Diode Voltage Regulation w Full Wave Rectifier Note stable voltage

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