Applet Worksheet
(Junction Diode IV Characteristics Virtual Lab)
PreLab:
[If you are familiar with the topics below, then you may skip the
applets in this PreLab. However, you still need to answer the questions.]
1) Review: Fermi Level (E_{F}) versus Doping
Concentration
Question: For a bulk ntype Si doped with N_{d}=10^{16}/cm^{3} donor impurities at room temperature, find the Fermi energy level with respect to the intrinsic Fermi energy level. Sketch the energy band diagram showing the band edges (E_{c} and E_{v}), intrinsic Fermi level E_{i}, and Fermi level E_{F}. Indicate the approximate energy spacing between these levels. Use a rectangle whose height is proportional to the logarithm of majority (or minority) carrier concentration to indicate the carrier density. The rectangle should be drawn relative to the band edges of the conduction band (in blue color for electrons) or valence band (in red color for holes).Useful formulas:
n_{0}=n_{i} exp[(E_{f}E_{i})/kT]; p_{0} = n_{i}^{2}/n_{0}; n_{i} = 10^{10}/cm^{3} for Si at 300K; kT = 25.9meV at 300K; and E_{g} = 1.12eV for Si at 300K.Grade your answer: Grade your sketch using the Carrier Concentration vs. Fermi Level applet at http://jas2.eng.buffalo.edu/applets/education/semicon/fermi/bandAndLevel/fermi.html
2) Review: PN Junction in an OpenCircuit condition (That is, under Equilibrium)
(2.1) The PN Junction is in thermal equilibrium when/if the Fermi Level E_{F} is constant throughout the PN junction diode. Use the applet at http://jas2.eng.buffalo.edu/applets/education/pn/pnformation_B/index.html
to verify that the final equilibrium band diagram is achieved when the Fermi Level (Green horizontal line) is the same throughout the device structure.
(2.2) Question: Sketch the energy band diagram of a PN junction for N_{A}=10^{15}/cm^{3}and N_{D}=10^{15}/cm^{3}; and for N_{A}=10^{15}/cm^{3} and N_{D}=10^{16}/cm^{3}. Pay attention to the E_{F} level relative to the band edge of each side, band bending in the depletion region, and using an approximate depletion thickness at each side of the junction.
Grade your answer: Grade your sketch of the energy band diagram using the applet given above in (2.1) or using this applet:
http://jas2.eng.buffalo.edu/applets/education/pn/pnformation3/index.html
3) Carrier Energy and the Energy Band
Refer to the figure below (a pn junction energy band diagram) and answer the questions further below.Electrons in the nside (the large blue rectangle on the right hand side) will ‘see’ a potential barrier when looking toward the pside of the left hand side of the junction. This potential barrier must be overcome in order to cross the junction. The energy of carrier electrons in the conduction band of nside is distributed, increasing with the increasing distance from the band edge, within the blue rectangle.
(3.1) Question: Suppose that we divide the electrons of the nside into two portions: (a) above the dashed line and (b) below the dashed line. Which portion is responsible for the ‘injection’ current ? Explain your answer.
(3.2) Note in the blue rectangle above, the vertical heights are given in mixed units. The potential barrier, V0  V, is in [Volts], while the logarithm of Numbers Nn and Nd are unitless. The appropriate convertion of units will be: multiply q/kT to the potential.
Question: Verify the following relation from the figure: ln(Nn) + (q/kT)(V0V) = ln(Nd). Also verify the counterpart equation for the holes: ln(Np) + (q/kT)(V0V) = ln(Na). Explain what these relations mean. If you can't explain, then this lab will definitely help you.
Procedure: Junction Diode IV Characteristics Virtual Lab
1) Visit the virtual lab entitled "Biased PN Diode" at http://jas2.eng.buffalo.edu/applets/education/pn/biasedPN/index.html.
This applet lets you visualize the current flow across a PN junction under 0 bias, forward bias, or reverse bias. In this applet, the PN diode cross section is shown on top with the applied bias shown as a scrollbar on its left; and the Energy Band diagram is shown at bottom. Color conventions are as follows: PN Diode  Red=Pside, White=Depletionregion, Blue=Nside; and Energy Band Diagram  Red=Holes, and Blue=Electrons.
2) Current Components
Use the default setting (Bias=0V, Na=1E16, Nd=1E16).
On top of applet, select injection and electron only.
Observe the applet. The injection electrons flow from N to Pside:
P < N; and its current flows from P to Nside: P > N.
Complete the table below by examining each current component. In the
last column, show if the current component increases, decreases, or stays
constant with increasing the Bias voltage.



















3) Carrier Processes
Set the applet at: Bias=0.5V; and select injection,
recombination and electron only. Turn off all other options
for simplification. The applet visualizes the injection of electrons at
the junction and the recombination of the injected minority carrier electrons
with the majority carrier holes within a diffusion length distance from
the depletion edge of the Pside.
Now consider the 'physical' continuity of current flow within the PN
diode: start at the metal (Ohmic) contact at the Pside and end at
the Ohmic contact of the Nside of the PN diode. These carrier
processes are involved: electron injection (thermionic emission over
the potential barrier); minority electron diffusion; majority electron drift;
minority electron  majority hole recombination; majority hole drift.
Give the process next to the location number below:
(1):__________________________
(2):__________________________
(3):__________________________
(4):__________________________
(5):__________________________
What can you say about the physical process of current flow throughout
the PN diode ? Does the total current level change as you travel
though the device between the two electrodes ?
4) Width of Depletion Region vs. Applied Bias
Click the "showParameter" button.
Set Na=1E16 and Nd=1E16. Record the depletion width of pside, x_{p}, and nside, x_{n}, at +0.35V, 0V, and 0.6V. Is the depletion width symmetric in the nside and pside ?
Now set Na=1E17 and Nd=1E16. Record the widths at +0.35V, 0V, and 0.6V. Is the depletion regions symmetric ?
Check if qN_{a}x_{p} = qN_{d}x_{n} holds true for all of the above cases. What does this relation say about the net space charge in the device ?
Discuss your observation of the depletion widths as a function of the
applied bias and doping levels.
Discussion
[PN junction diode under the applied bias: both the currentvoltage
(IV) and capacitancevoltage (CV) characteristics are important.
IV characteristic is important for both DC and ac operation of device, and
CV is important for the ac operation, particularly at high frequency.
Below we shall consider only the IV characteristic; the CV characteristic
will be discussed in another applet.]
5) ReverseBias
Click "showParameter" button. Set Na=1E17, and Nd=1E15, check all
boxes: leakage, injection, recombination, electron
and hole. Apply a bias of 0.3V. Observe the flow across
the junction. Change the bias to 0.5V and observe. Change the
doping levels and do the same.
Discuss what you observe here: Specifically, does the current change as
the reverse bias changes ? Why or why not ? What seems to limit
the reverse current ?
6) ForwardBias
[This exercise is to derive Diode
current equation from a simple intuition. In the process, we hope to gain
physical insights into the nature of forward current and reverse current.
Attention should be paid to: in forward bias, which part of carriers are injected,
in view of the potential barrier V0V ?; and the reverse saturation
current, do the number of minority carriers that flow down the potential hill
change with bias ? In short, which carriers comprise the forward
current in view of their energy in the band. ]
Click the "showParameter" and "helper" buttons. Set Na=1E16 and Nd=1E16.
(a) Turn off leakage and recombination. Apply a forward
bias of 0.5V or so. The number of electrons that can overcome the potential
barrier, V0V, and thus can be injected from the Nside to the Pside is given
by Nn. Express Nn using V0V and Nd using
the applet. [Use a conversion factor q/kT for the potential V0V.
Nn = electrons that are above the potential barrier V0V.]
Nn as a function of V0V and Nd:
[Hint: ln(Nn) = ln(Nd)  q(V0V)/kT]
(b) Turn on leakage. Set the bias at 0V (or click "reset"
button.). From the applet, express n_{p0}, the minority
electron density of the Pside, in terms of V0 and Nd. [Hint:At bias = 0V, the injected electron is equal to the electron
leakage current.]
(c) Net Electron Current: AT a forward bias, V, the net electron
current is porportional to (Nnn_{p0}), and therefore,
Jn = C(Nnn_{p0}) = Jn0 [exp(qV/kT)  1] where C is a proportional
constant. Express Jn0 in terms of C, Nd, V_{0}, ... [
Note1: n_{i}^{2} = NaNd exp(V_{0}/V_{T})
Note2: From textbooks you can find that C = qDn / [Ln tanh(W/Ln)]
]
(d) Turn off leakage and recombination. Apply a forward
bias of 0.5V or so. Here, Np is he number of holes that
can overcome the potential barrier V0V. Express Np as
a function of the potential barrier V0V and the acceptor doping level
Na. Do it in the same way as in (a).
Np as a function of V0V and Na:
(e) Turn on the leakage. Set the bias at 0V. From the applet,
express p_{n0}, the minority hole density of the Nside,
in terms of V0 and Na.
(f) Net Hole current: AT a forward bias, V, the net electron
current is porportional to (Np  p_{n0}), and therefore,
Jp = B(Npp_{n0}) = Jp0 [exp(qV/kT)  1] where B is
a proportional constant. Express Jp0 in terms of B, Na, V0, ... [Note:
From textbooks you can find that B = q Dp / [Lp tanh (W/Lp)] ]
(g) Total current: The total current is given by the net injected electron current plus net hole current which is proportional to (Nnn_{p0}) + (Npp_{n0}). Derive the diode IV equation by setting I = A(Jn + Jp) where A is the device cross sectional area. Is the diode current equation consistent with the formulas learned in class or from textbook ? Verify the constants B and C by comparing the current formulas above with the Diode current formulas from the textbook.