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Semiconductor Energy Band Gap

Measurement Trainer
Learning Material
Ver 1.1
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Semiconductor Energy Band Gap Measurement Trainer
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 3
2. Features 4
3. Technical Specifications 5
4. Theory 6
5. Experiments
Experiment 1
Finding the energy band gap of semiconductor material of a
P-N junction of diode.
Experiment 2
Study of the reverse characteristic of OA79 P-N junction
Semiconductor diode.
6. Warranty 38
7. List of Accessories 38
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NV6106 Semiconductor Energy Band-Gap Measurement Trainer introduces
you to a very useful nonlinear electronic device: diode. This trainer
familiarizes the characteristic and the energy band gap of semiconductor diode.
Semiconductor diode is an important element of most electronic devices, and is
tremendously important and plays an essential role in modern technology,
because of their relevant conductivity. This trainer provides the crucial
framework, which needed to understand the concept of an energy band
gap and characteristic of a diode. Conductivity is directly related to energy
bands and it is necessary for any detailed description of semiconductor devices.
This trainer is based upon reverse diode characteristic, in which conductivity
depends on temperature. This trainer comprises power supply, Oven and digital
panel meter. Oven is mounted on trainer, which provides ambient temperature
range. This trainer not only measures conductivity on various temperature but
also helps to draw a reverse characteristic of diode.
Diode is an important element of most electronic device, from a simple rectifier
to integrated circuit. Therefore, understanding of the diode is essential to the
study of more complicated semiconductor device and thus has attracted a
considerable interest in the application of diode in all electronic devices. The
study of the band gap structure of semiconductors is also important
because it is directly related to its electrical properties.
A diode is a semiconductor, which in its simplest form converts ac in to dc and
allows current to flow only in one direction, with far greater ease than in other.
The most common kind of diode in modern circuit design is the semiconductor
Semiconductors are tremendously important in modern technology.
Semiconductor devices, electronic components made-up of semiconductor
materials, are essential in modern electrical devices, from computers cellular
phones to a digital audio player. Silicon diode is used to create most
semiconductors devices commercially, because of its greater ease of processing
and more stable temperature characteristics However, germanium diodes have
the advantage of an intrinsically low forward voltage drop, typically 0.3 volts;
this low forward voltage drop results in a low power loss and more efficient
diode, making it superior in many ways to the silicon diode. A silicon diode
forward voltage drop, by comparison, is typically 0.7 volts. This lower voltage
drop for germanium becomes important in very low signal environments (signal
detection from audio to FM frequencies) and in low level logic circuits. As a
result germanium diodes are finding increasing application in low level digital
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- Design with all safety standards
- Easy understanding circuit arrangement, with diagram interpretation
- Adjustable voltage Oven produces isothermal heat with regulation
- Onboard voltage and current measurement
- Exhaustive learning material
- 2 Year Warranty
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Technical Specifications
DC Power Supply : +15V, 1.5A
+6V, 0.5 A
Diode : OA79 P-N Junction Germanium type
Switch : 1 Pole, 2 Ways Toggle type
Type : LCD
Height : 66mm
Width : 74mm
Coil : Nichrome Wire
Fuse : 0.5A
Mains : 230 V 10%, 50 Hz
Dimensions (mm) : W 250 x D 130 x H 30
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I. Materials and concept of energy bands:
Materials can be categorized into conductors, semiconductors or insulators by their
ability to conduct electricity. Free electrons are responsible for the conduction of
electricity. Free electrons are those outermost electrons, which are most weakly
bound with atoms. Hence these electrons get separated from their atoms and move
freely inside the entire substance from one atom to another atom. These free electrons
act as the charge carrier. Insulators do not conduct electricity because their valence
electrons are not free to wander throughout the material. Metals conduct electricit y
easily because the energy levels between the conduction and valence band are closely
spaced or there are more energy levels available, than there are electrons to fill them
so very little energy is required to find new energies for electrons to occupy. The
band theory of materials explains qualitatively the difference between these types of
materials. Electrons occupy energy levels from the lowest energies to upwards.
However, some energy levels are forbidden. The allowed energy levels tend to form
bands. In metals, there is no forbidden gap; the conduction band and the valence band
overlap, allowing free electrons to participate in the conduction process. Insulators
have an energy gap that is far greater than the thermal energy of the electron, while
semiconductor materials the energy gap is typically around 1eV.
Energy bands :
Electron of single atom occupies atomic orbital, which forms a discrete energy level.
If several atoms brought together in to a molecule, their atomic orbitals re-arrange
themselves in a space or in allowed degree of freedom. When a large number of
atoms (order 10
or more) are brought together to form a solid, number of orbital
becomes exceedingly large and difference in energy between them become very small,
so the level forms band of energy rather than the discrete energy level. So energy
band consists of a large number of closely spaced energy levels. The bands can be
thought of as the collection of the individual energy levels of electrons surrounding
each atom. The wave function of the individual electron, however, overlaps with
those of electrons confined to neighboring atoms. The Pauli Exclusion Principle does
not allow the electron energy levels to be the same so that one obtains a set of closely
spaced energy levels, forming an energy band.
There are two approaches to find the electron energies associated with atoms bound
electron and unbound or free electron. Here figure (1) shows energy levels of two
atoms, six atoms and solid of N atoms.
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The valence band is the lower band of allowed states and a highest range of electron
energy at absolute zero temperature. Since electrons have a tendency to fill the lowest
available energy states, the valence band is always nearly completely filled with
electrons, especially as the temperature falls toward 0K. Electrons in the valence band
do not participate in the conduction process. (See Valence band in figure 3)
Conduction band :
The conduction band is the upper band of allowed states and is generally empty. In
reference to conductivity in semiconductors, it is the band that accepts the electrons
from the valence band. The conduction band can be seen in the figure 3 below. It is
the range of electron energy, higher than that of valence band sufficient to make the
electrons free to accelerate under the influence of an applied electric field and thus
constitute an electric current. Semiconductors may cross this conduction band when
they are excited.
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Energy band gap :
The energy gap between the top of the valence band and bottom of the conduction
band is known as energy band gap.
= E
This region between the two energy bands is known as forbidden band gap. So energy
band gap of semiconductor may be determined using a semiconductor crystal or
semiconductor diode. Generally Germanium crystal or P-N junction diode is used to
determine the band gap of semiconductor.
Figure (3)
II. Band theory in solid, its application and concept of thermal runaway:
Band theory in solid :
a) When atoms are distinct, as in vapor phase, energy levels are well defined.
b) Atoms come together in a solid, atoms affect each other and energy levels
become a band.
c) Example: 10
atoms of sodium 1s, 2s, 2p bands are full; 3s band is half
filled; 3p band is empty.
Application of band theory :
a) Sodium is a good conductor because many energy levels are open and
easily accessible.
b) Characteristic of insulator are: large band gap between highest filled
(valence) and lowest unfilled (conduction) band.
c) Semiconductor with small band gap (near 1 eV)
d) Magnesium has a filled 3s shell. Atomic theory would suggest a bad
conductor. Band theory calculations however show that 3s and 3p in
magnesium overlap, creating a band that is only filled; therefore, Mg is
a good conductor.
e) 2p shell of carbon is only 1/3 filled, so atomic theory suggests carbon is a
good conductor. However, band theory calculations for carbon shows that
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the 2s and 2p bands overlap but split into bands that contain 4 electron per
atom, which makes it weaker
f) Germanium and silicon are similar to carbon but equilibrium atomic
spacing are larger and band gap is smaller (near 1 eV)
g) Band gap is smaller in germanium than silicon; germanium is more
susceptible to thermal runaway
Thermal run away :
When diode is blocking (suppose its associated supply has a fault in short circuit
mode) than the diode has to operate in reverse mode with high junction temperature
(due to preceding forward losses) and so with relatively high reverse current. This
high reverse current can generate high reverse losses and so increase junction
temperature and so reverse current as well as increases. This is called thermal
runaway phenomena.
III. Semiconductor, and concept of electrons and holes in it :
Semiconductor :
In this class of material, two energy bands are distinctly separate with no overlapping;
the forbidden gap is nearly 1 eV. At absolute zero of temperature, no electron has
energy even to jump the forbidden gap and reach the conduction band. Therefore,
substance is an insulator at zero degree temperature. But at room temperature, some
valence electrons acquire thermal energy greater than the energy gap and move to the
conduction band where they are free to move under the influence of even a weak
electric field. Higher the temperature, greater are the chances of electron to jump to
conduction bands and greater the conductivity.
Electrons and holes in semiconductor :
In a semiconductor, as an electron leaves the valence band, it leaves some energy
level in band as unfilled. Such unfilled regions are termed as holes in valence band.
The holes are called positive charge carrier, because when an electron leaves a
particular spot, it is left as positively charged. Any movement of this region is called
as a positive hole moving from one position to another.
Figure 4(a) represents the formation of electron-hole pair on the energy band diagram.
In (a), at absolute zero the valence band of intrinsic semiconductor is completely
filled and the conduction band is completely empty. In this condition semiconductor
behave like an insulator.
In 4(b), when temperature increases, some of the electrons from the valence band get
excited and reach the conduction band and in their place holes are created in valence
band. Thus the number of electrons and holes are equal (i.e., n = p). In the diagram
electrons are shown by and holes by . As temperature increases, the number of
holes in valence band and number of electrons in conduction band increases.
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Formation of electron hole pair
Figure (4)
When an external electric field is applied, the motion of electrons in the conduction
band is in direction opposite to the direction of electric field, while the motion of
holes in the valence band is in the direction of electric field.
Electron-hole pairs that are produced in an intrinsic semiconductor due to thermal
agitation may recombine again due to their random motion. Normally, at each
temperature, the rate of production of electron-hole pairs is equal to the rate of their
recombination. Let E
be the lowest energy of the conduction band and E
be the
highest energy of valence band as shown in figure 4(c) then at absolute zero, the
value of Fermi energy E
will be in between the lowest energy E
of conduction band
and highest energy E
of valence band (i.e. Fermi level must be in the forbidden gap
between E
), then the valence band will be completely filled (E
< E
, hence f (E)
= 1
. Figure (5) shows their distribution of Fermi function f (E) with energy E at
absolute zero.
Distribution of Fermi function at absolute zero
Figure 5
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IV. Characteristic of semiconductor and its types :
Characteristic of semiconductor:
a) A semiconductor behaves like an insulator at 0 absolute; and as
temperature rises; it behaves like a conductor its conductivity increases
with the temperature. This is in contrast with the behavior of metals where
conductivity decreases with rise in temperature.
b) While metals confirm to ohms law and that the conductivity is an intrinsic
property of metal, independent of the potential difference applied at its
c) By doping semiconductor with external impurities; their conductivity is
vastly increased.
Intrinsic semiconductor :
This type of semiconductor is pure semiconductor, no impurities is added it is
absolutely free from impurities. This type of semiconductor, the valence band and the
conduction band are separated by nearly 1 eV. The energy gap in the case of silicon is
1.1 eV. In the case of germanium, it is 0.74 eV.
The electronic configuration of this type of semiconductor is given as
Silicon: Si
Germanium: Ge
In both silicon and germanium, there are four electrons in the outermost shells so both
are called tetravalent crystals. The atoms in, say germanium, are bound together by
covalent bonds as shown in figure (6).
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Due to mutual sharing of electrons, outermost shells of each Ge atoms are
complete octets, thus we get a stable germanium crystal. At low temperature
(say, 0K), all the electrons are rigidly bound to their nuclei. There is no free
charge carriers available, therefore electrical conductivity is zero. That is why
semiconductor acts as insulator at low temperatures.
Figure 7
At room temperature, thermal energy of crystal agitates the all particle of
crystal lattice. Hence some of the electrons acquire enough energy to overcome
the forbidden gap and separates from covalent bond. Electrons get promoted
from valence band to conduction band.
Extrinsic semiconductor:
An extrinsic semiconductor is one in which an impurity with a valency higher
or lower than the valency of the semiconductor atoms is introduced, which
drastically influence the electrical properties of the semiconductor.
Figure 8
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V Distinction between extrinsic and intrinsic semiconductors:
a) Intrinsic semiconductors are pure group IV element where as extrinsic
semiconductors have some impurity in the form of group V or group III
elements externally introduce in the pure semiconductors.
b) In intrinsic semiconductors, the conductivity is only slight; but due to the added
impurity, the extrinsic semiconductor has a greatly increased electrical
c) In intrinsic semiconductor, the conductivity increase in rise in temperature;
while in extrinsic semiconductors, the value of conductivity depends upon the
amount of impurity added to the semiconductor.
d) In intrinsic semiconductor, the no. of holes is always equal to the no. of electron;
while this is not the case in extrinsic semiconductor. In N-type, the no. of
electrons is much greater than the no of holes; and in P-type the no. of holes is
much greater than the no of electron in it.
VI. Concept of Fermi level in semiconductor:
Between the valence band energy level and conduction band energy level, there is
another level known as fermi level and it is donated as E
. Fermi level has a
probability of half of being occupied by an electron.
For an intrinsic semi-conductor:
The concentration of electrons in the conduction band is equal to the concentration of
holes in the valence band and hence the fermi level lies in the middle of the band gap
as shown in figure (9)
Figure 9
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For N-type semiconductor :
Because this type of semiconductor is doped with a pentavalent impurity so it has a
very high concentration of electrons in the conduction band and. In this type of
semiconductor, there is a high concentration of electrons in conduction band as
compared to the hole concentration in valence band, the fermi level therefore lies near
the conduction band below the bottom of the band as shown figure (10)
For P-type semiconductor :
Figure 10
Because this type of semiconductor is doped with a trivalent impurity so it has a ver y
high concentration of holes in the valence band. In this type of semiconductor there is
high concentration of holes in the valence band as compared to the electron
concentration in conduction band, the fermi therefore lies near the valence band
above the top of the band as shown in figure 11.
Figure 11
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VII. Semiconductor diode and formation of P-N junction & depletion region :
Semiconductor diode :
A diode is created by joining a P-type semiconductor and with an N-type
semiconductor thus making a P-N junction. The process of introducing impurities is
known as doping or implantation. According to the dopant's atomic structure, the
result of implantation will be either P-type (negative) or N-type (positive)
A junction is not formed just by placing two crystals in contact with each other but it
is formed when there are some structural change inside the crystal. Junction is formed
in a single crystal of germanium or silicon by the transition from P-type to N-type.
Commonly three methods are used for formation of junction.
1. Fused or alloy junction methods
2. Diffused junction method
3. Growing junction method
Formation of P-N junction :
1. P-type Semiconductor :
Figure 12
P-type semiconductor is a semi-conducting material, which is doped with
acceptor impurity (an impurity that reduces the number of free electrons causing
more holes). When this type of impurities is added to semiconducting materials,
impurity tends to compensate for its deficiency of 1 valence electron by
acquiring an electron from its neighbor. Impurities of this type have only 3
valence electrons and are called trivalent impurities. Three valence electrons
covalently bond with the semi conducting material and leave a hole in the fourth
bond. Because these materials accept 1 electron from the doped material, thats
why they called acceptor impurities. Aluminum, indium, gallium, and boron are
trivalent impurities
Trivalent impurities: Al, In, Ga, B.
Majority charge carriers: Holes
Minority charge carriers: Electrons
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The holes in this type semiconductor are the majority current carriers since
they are present in the greatest quantity, while the electrons are the minority
current carriers.
Figure 13
A trivalent impurity element is used to dope germanium. In this case, the
impurity is 1 electron short of the required amount of electrons needed to
establish covalent bonds with 4 neighboring atoms. Thus, in a single covalent
bond, there will be only 1 electron instead of 2. This arrangement leaves a hole
in that covalent bond. Figure (13) illustrates this, by showing what happens
when germanium is doped with an indium (In) atom. Notice, the indium atom in
the figure (13)
P-type of material contains charge carriers, which are of a positive polarity and
are known as holes.
2. N-type- semiconductor :
N-type semiconductor is a semi-conducting material, which is doped with a
donor atom (pentavalent impurities). Four of the donors atom electron binds
covalently with the semi conducting material, while the fifth is free to move into
the conduction band if given a small amount of thermal energy. The N-type
impurity loses its extra valence electron easily when added to a semiconductor
material, and in so doing, increases the conductivity of the material by
contributing a free electron. This type of impurity has 5 valence electrons and is
called a pentavalent impurity. Arsenic, antimony, bismuth, and phosphorous are
pentavalent impurities. Because these materials give or donate one electron to
the doped material, they are also called donor impurities. The electrons in this
type semiconductor are the majority current carriers, since they are present in
the greatest quantity, while the holes are the minority current carriers
Pentavalent impurities: As, At, Bi, P
Majority charge carriers: Electrons
Minority charge carriers: Holes
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Figure 14
When a pentavalent impurity, like arsenic, is added to germanium, it will form
covalent bonds with the germanium atoms. Figure 14 illustrates this by showing an
arsenic atom (As) in a germanium (Ge) lattice structure. Notice the arsenic atom in
the center of the lattice. It has 5 valence electrons in its outer shell but uses only 4
of them to form covalent bonds with the germanium atoms, leaving
1 electron relatively free in the crystal structure.
Pure germanium may be converted into an N-type semiconductor by "doping". This
type of material contains charge carrier, which are of a negative polarity and are
known as electrons.
P-N Junction :
The junction is region, which has no charge carriers and is known as depletion region.
When a P-type and N-type semiconductor are joined together, the majority charge
carriers from each type will naturally diffuse into each other. This is illustrated in
Figure 15. The electrons diffusing to the left combine with holes and holes diffusing
to the right combine with electrons in the vicinity of the junction. In this way, a
depletion zone around the junction is formed. N-type and P-type material remains
overall neutral. Equilibrium state is achieved when the diffusion current to the left is
balanced by the drift current of the minority carriers to the right. The minority carriers
drift through the junction as a result of the electric field. It should be noted that the
potential difference at the junction does not appear across the ends of the P-N
junction, when it is open circuited. Junction (depletion) region has a physical
thickness that varies with the applied voltage.
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Figure 15
1. A forward bias decreases the thickness of the depletion region :
When a forward bias is applied to the P-N junction the diffusion current due to
majority charge carrier electron flowing from N-type to P-type and majority
charge carrier holes from P to N raises rapidly, which compress depletion region
and lowers the potential barrier.
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2. A reverse bias increases the thickness of depletion region :
When a reverse bias is applied to the P-N junction majority charge carrier
electron attracts toward negative end of battery and holes attracts towards
positive terminal of battery, which increase the thickness of depletion region
and increase the potential barrier.
There is a potential hill associated with the junction approximately 0.3 volt for
germanium and 0.7 volt for silicon diode in forward bias.
VIII. Biasing of diode and its characteristic :
Biasing of a diode :
Figure 16
Bias refers to the application of external voltage to a semiconductor. There are two
ways a P-N junction can be biased.
1. Forward bias :
In forward bias of diode a positive voltage is applied to P-type materials and the
negative voltage is applied to N-type material. As a result, an electric field is
produced from P to N due to which holes in P region get repelled from the
positive electrode and move in the direction of electric field (i.e. towards
junction) and electrons in N region get repelled from the negative electrode and
move in direction opposite to the electric field (i.e. towards junction)
Figure 17
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A forward bias results current to flow through the diode in a mili-ampere range.
Then the different types of charge will merge at the junction and a full current
will flow around the circuit. The Bands will be brought to the same energies and
electrons and holes will be able to cross from one type to another. Electrons will
then fall into holes and a current is established. The external electric field now
cancels the internal field.
2. Reverse bias :
In reverse bias of diode a positive voltage is applied to N-type material and the
negative voltage is applied to P-type material. Reverse biases the diode. The
positive holes are attracted away from the junction. Similarly the negative
electrons are also attracted away from this region.
(a) Reverse bias of P-N junction (b) Increase in barrier energy in reverse bias
Figure 18
We have reinforced the internal E Field with the imposed external field. A large
energy difference for electrons in the conduction band will now appear across
the junction and electrons will fail to cross and merge with holes - it will fail to
conduct. (There is a breakdown point however, diodes deliberately designed to
use this are called "Zener diodes" and are used to lock voltages in circuits.)
Similarly a large energy difference in the Valence Band will appear for holes so
they will not cross the junction.
Characteristic of a P-N junction diode :
Circuit diagram for the characteristics of a P-N junction diode in forward bias
condition is shown in figure (19)
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Figure 19
In forward bias, a low voltage battery B with variable supply across the junction
diode such that P is connected to the positive terminal and N to negative terminal.
Potential across diode can read by voltmeter V and diode current is measured by the
ammeter(A). Forward voltage is gradually increased and corresponding current is
noted. Graph is plotted by taking the current on the Y-axis and voltage on X-axis. The
graph so obtained is called the characteristic curve in forward bias, which is shown in
figure (20)
Figure 20
From graph it is clear that diode current first increases slowly with the increase of
forward voltage till the barrier potential (= 0.3 for germanium and 0.7 for silicon) is
reached, then with further increase in voltage, the current increases rapidly. The
voltage at which the current starts increasing rapidly is called the knee voltage or
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offset voltage, which is equal to the barrier voltage. Flow of current is due to the
majority charge carriers.
In reverse bias figure 21, the terminal of the battery B are reversed (P is connected to
the negative terminal and N is connected to the positive terminal) and ammeter is set
to micrometer range.
Figure 21
The current is very low, since the junction offers a high resistance and it is due to the
flow of minority charge carriers. The current is independent of the voltage applied
and depends only on the temperature of diode. The current is thus called the
saturation current (which is more in Ge diode as compared to that in Si diode). At a
large reverse voltage, the breakdown occurs at B as shown in figure (22) and current
abruptly increases. The point B is called the zener point.
Reverse characteristic of P-N junction diode
Figure 22
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IX. Breakdown voltage and knee voltage in semiconductor :
Breakdown voltage : The reverse voltage, at which P-N junction breaks down with a
sudden rise in reverse current, is known as the breakdown voltage.
Figure 23
A very little reverse current flows through a P-N junction at normal reverse voltage.
But if the reverse voltage is increased to a high value, the junction may breakdown
with sudden increases in reverse current.
When a high reverse voltage is applied, these electrons get enough velocity to
dislodge valence electrons from semiconductor atoms as shown in figure (23 b)
Knee voltage : The forward voltage, at which the current through the junction begins
to increase rapidly, is known as knee voltage.
Figure 24
When the forward bias is applied to a diode, it conducts very slowly until it
overcomes the potential barrier. As shown in figure (24), the knee voltage for silicon
diode is 0.7V and 0.3 for germanium diode.
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When the forward voltage larger than the knee voltage is applied, the current starts
rising rapidly. The applied voltage must be more than the knee voltage to obtain the
significant current.
X. Breakdown in semiconductor junction :
Zener breakdown :
Zener breakdown takes place when reverse bias field across P-N junction is such that
the field may exerts a strong force on the bound electron to detach it out from
covalent bond. Thus a large number of electron hole pair is generated and hence
reverse current increases abruptly. When doping is large in semiconductor then Fermi
level of P-N junction comes close to the valence band of P and N region as shown in
figure (25).
Figure 25
Potential barrier increases on applying reverse bias, therefore in the reverse bias
condition, conduction band of N region comes in line of valence band of P region as
shown in figure (26).
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Figure 26
In this condition, electrons of conduction band of N region reach in their
corresponding energy states in P region through the tunnel in the potential barrier.
Thus a large number of conduction electrons of N-region cross the junction and reach
in P-region. As a consequence, the current, current through the junction abruptly
increases and junction gets breakdown. Zener breakdown voltage decreases with the
increase in temperature.
Avalanche breakdown :
When doping is low in semiconductor then in reverse bias, tunneling probability of
electrons is negligible and there is no Zener breakdown but in this case, minority
charge carrier suffers collisions with semiconductor atom and separate electron from
them (i.e., they ionize the atoms of semiconductor). As a consequence, electron-hole
pairs are formed. When reverse bias voltage is increases kinetic energy of minority
charge carrier also increases. Hence large no. of atoms get ionized and large number
of electrons-hole pairs are formed. New electrons so formed get accelerated and
further ionize other atoms. This process continues. Electrons move towards positive
electrodes (N region) and holes towards negative electrodes (P regions). As a result
current rapidly increases and junction gets breakdown. Avalanche breakdown voltage
increasers, with increasing in temperature.
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XI. Space charge capacitance and Diffusion capacitance in semiconductor:
Space charge capacitance: When P-N junction diode is operated in reverse
bias, the width W of depletion region is increased because the holes and
electrons are moved towards the negative and positive polarity of applied
voltage. the additional ions are uncovered due to this widening in the space
charge region. The existence of opposite charge on either side of the space
charge region is same as a parallel plate capacitor which is given by
C = farad
A - Junction area,
W- Width of depletion region
c- Permittivity of semiconductor.
Diffusion Capacitance: The width of the depletion region is narrowed due to
migration of holes to N-side and electrons on the P-side in a forward biased
diode. Consequently, in the vicinity of the depletion region holes on N-side and
electrons on P-side are accumulated. This is same as a plate capacitor charged
by a voltage. An electric field exists between the two stored charges that is
maximum at the centre of the junction. Now, on slightly increasing the voltage
to AV`, there is a change in charge by AQ and their ratio is the capacitance-
Figure 27
= C = Diffusion Capcitance
The capacitance is very high of the order of microfarads due to narrow width
that is million times larger than the C
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XII. Various types of diode:
Zener diodes :
The Zener diode is designed to have a specific reverse breakdown voltage. Because of
this, Zener diodes can be used by themselves as voltage-sensitive switches, or in
series with a current-limiting resistor to provide voltage regulation.
Photodiodes :
All P-N junctions are light sensitive; photodiodes are just P-N junctions that are
designed to optimize this effect. Photodiodes can be used two ways - in a
photovoltaic (here it becomes a current source when illuminated - see solar cell), or
photoconductive role. To use a photodiode in its photoconductive mode, the
photodiode is reverse-biased; the photodiode will then allow a current to flow when it
is illuminated.
Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) :
All diodes emit some light when forward-biased. LEDs are made from a special
semiconductor (like gallium arsenide phosphide), which optimizes this light output.
Unlike light bulbs, LEDs are rarely burn out unless their current limit is passed. When
current is flowing through an LED the voltage on the positive terminal is about 1.4
volts higher than the voltage on the negative side (this varies with LED type - infrared
LEDs have a lower forward voltage requirement, others may need up to 1.8 V).
Remember that there is very little resistance to limit the current, so a resistor must be
used in series with the LED to avoid destroying it. Also note that LEDs can be used
as photodiodes (though, their sensitivity is relatively low, so they're only useable this
way in very bright conditions).
Flashing LEDs (FLEDs) :
A flashing LED is just an LED with a built-in microcircuit to cause it to flash
periodically. Since the Flash LED draws current when it flashes, we can use Flash
LEDs to drive a number of timing-dependent circuits (via the fact that it periodically
becomes conductive). Note that some Flash LEDs need 3 V minimums to work in).
Tunnel diode :
A tunnel diode is a semiconductor with a negative resistance region that results in
very fast switching speeds, up to 5 GHz. The operation depends upon a quantum
mechanic principle known as "tunneling" wherein the intrinsic voltage barrier (0.3
Volt for Germanium junctions) is reduced due to doping levels, which enhance
tunneling. Referring to the curves below, superimposing the tunneling characteristic
upon a conventional P-N junction, we have:
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Combination of Tunneling Current and Conventional PN Junction Current
Figure 28
1. Typically semiconductor with more than 10
2. Forward bias: Negative differential conductance.
3. Reverse bias: Large inter-band transport.
4. Large forward bias: thermal current.
5. Tunneling phenomena is a majority charge carrier effect.
Figure 29
6. Tunneling: fast process. Therefore, the tunnel diode exhibits ultra-high speed,
low power and low noise.
7. They are used as microwave amplification, high speed switching and binary
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XIII. Conductivity and band gap determination:
Semiconductor is a special class of element having conductivity between the
Conductivity of a good conductor and an insulator. Conductivity of
semiconductor depends upon temperature. Semiconductor materials have negative
temperature coefficient, so unlike metals conductivity of semiconductor increases
with increase in temperature. As the temperature increases, the thermal energy
of the valence electrons increases, allowing more of them to reach the
energy gap into the conduction band. When an electron gains enough energy to
escape the electrostatic attraction of its parent, it leaves behind a vacancy which
may be filled be another electron. The vacancy produced can be thought of as a
second carrier of positive charge. It is known as a hole. As electrons flow through
the semiconductor, holes flow in the opposite direction. If there are n free
electrons in an intrinsic semiconductor, then there must also be n holes.
When P-N diode is kept in reverse bias then current flows through junction due to
minority charge carrier. (i.e., In P-region due to electrons and in N-region due to
holes). Concentration of these charge carriers depends upon energy band gap E
Reverse saturation current Is, depends upon, diode temperature and is expressed
by the equation:
Equation 1
Nn = concentration of electrons in N- region
Np = concentration of holes in P-region
Vn = drift velocity of electrons
Vp = drift velocity of holes
A = area of junction
k = boltzman constant
T = junction temperature
Value of Nn and Vn is evaluated by
= effective mass of electron
= effective mass of hole
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Taking both side log of equation (4)
log Is = log A Nn ev Np ev e
n p


, or
log Is = log A Nn ev Np ev e
n p

log Is = log A Nn ev Np ev -Eg/kT
n p

, or
log Is = C-
2.3026 kT
If Eg in electron volt then,
1.6 10 Eg
log Is = C -
10 -23
2.3026 1.38 X 10 T

5.036 10
log Is = C- Eg

Here, C = log
[A {Nn ev
+ Np ev
}] = a constant
Take saturation reverse current on different-different temperature:
No. Temperature
T (K)
Current I
(in A) 10
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If graph is plotted between log
Is and 10
/T, then we get a straight line.
Graph (1)
Whose slope will be,
S = -5.036 Eg
Hence energy band gap of semiconductor
slope of line S
Eg = eV
XIV. Factor affecting energy band gap of semiconductor
1. Temperature dependence of the energy band gap:
The energy band gap of semiconductor tends to decrease as the temperature is
increased. Thermal energy increases amplitude of atomic vibration which cause
band gap to shrink.
The temperature dependence of the energy band gap, has been experimentally
determined by following expression for E
as a function of temperature, T.
Where E
, o and | are the fitting parameters. These parameters are listed for
germanium, silicon arsenide in table below:
Parameters Germanium Silicon GaAs
Eg .7437 1.166 1.519
.477 .473 .541
235 636 204
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Parameters used to calculate the energy band gap of germanium, silicon and
gallium arsenide (GaAs) as a function of temperature.
A plot of the resulting band gap versus temperature is shown in graph (3) for
germanium, silicon and gallium arsenide.
Graph (2)
2. Doping dependence of energy band gap:
High doping densities cause the band gap to shrink. This effect is explained by the
fact that the wave functions of the electrons bound to the impurity atoms start to
overlap as the density of the impurities increase. For instance, at a doping density
of 10
, the average distance between two impurities is only 10 nm. This
overlap forces the energies to form an energy band rather than a discreet level.
If the impurity level is shallow, this impurity band reduces the energy band of the
host material by:
N = Doping density,
q = Electronic charge,
c = Dielectric constant of the semiconductor,
k =Boltzmann's constant and
T = Temperature in Kelvin.
For silicon (c = 11.7) this expression further reduces to:
Eg (N) = -22.5 meV
18 -3
10 cm
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From this expression we find that the band gap shrinkage can typically be ignored
for doping densities less than 10
A plot of the change in band gap energy with doping density is shown in graph (4)
Graph (3)
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Experiment 1
Finding the energy band gap of semiconductor material of a P-N junction of
Procedure :
1. Switch Off the power switch from trainer board.
2. Switch the toggle switch of +6 V and +15 V power supply towards off
3. Set potentiometer of +6 V towards anticlockwise position.
4. Connect the mains cord to trainer.
5. Short terminal 2 to 3 and 6 to 7 by using patch cords.
6. Connect DC ammeter between terminals 8 and 9 (+)ve and ()ve
7. Connect DC voltmeter across the terminals 1 and 10 (+)ve and ()ve
8. Switch On the power supply.
9. Select the toggle switch of +6 V power supply towards on condition.
10. Use potentiometer of +6 V power supply to set voltage across diode to 2V.
11. Select the toggle switch of +15 V power supply towards on condition.
12. Note down the initial reading of current in micro ampere.
13. Wait until temperature reaches up to 65 degree celsius after that switch
Off +15 V power supply and note the reading of current.
Note: Dont increase temperature more than 65 degree celsius.
14. As the temperature decreases to 60 degree celsius, note corresponding
readings of current.
15. Take several readings of current, at the interval of 5 degree celsius
16. Tabulate all retrieved data in below table and calculate other factors of the
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Measure the Energy Band Gap of Semiconductor by using software
1. Install the software on your computer.
2. Connect USB to Serial cable between serial port of trainer and USB port
of PC.
3. Make connections same as above (from step 1 to step 10).
4. Detect the device on PC by using software.
5. Select the toggle switch of +15V power supply towards on condition.
6. Wait until temperature reaches up to 65-67 degree celsius after that switch
Off the +15 V power supply.
7. Now click on the Take Reading command button, so that temperate and
corresponding reading of current automatically appears in the table.
8. Wait again until temperature reaches up to 30-35 degree celsius after that
click on the Plot Graph command button.
9. Values of the A, B, C, and D blocks show coordinate of two best fitted
points P and Q.
10. When the graph is plotted then clicks on the Energy Band Gap
command button.
Observation Table:
T (K)
in mA)
Take 10
/T along the X-axis and Log
1 0
( I
) al ong Y-axis; plot a graph between
1 0
( I
) and 10
/T. (the graph will be straight line as shown in graph 4)
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Take two best fitted point P and Q on graph as shown in above figure.
Calculate Slope:
Slope of line S = AB / CD = A-B / C-D
We know that
Energy band gap of diode,
Eg = Slope/5.036 eV
= .eV
Measured Energy Band Gap = eV
Graph (4)
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Experiment 2
Study of the reverse characteristic of OA79 P-N junction semiconductor diode.
1. Switch Off the power supply from trainer board.
2. Select the toggle switch of +6 V and +15 V power supply towards off
3. Set potentiometer of +6 V power supply towards anticlockwise position.
4. Connect the mains cord to trainer.
5. Short terminals 2 to 3 and 6 to 7 by using patch cords.
6. Connect DC ammeter between terminals 8 and 9 (+)ve and ()ve
7. Connect DC voltmeter across the terminals 1 and 10 (+)ve and ()ve
8. Select potentiometer of +6 V across the diode to 0.5 V.
9. Note and record corresponding reading of current in micro ampere.
10. Increase potential across diode to 1 volt.
11. Note and record corresponding reading of current in DC ammeter.
12. Increase potential up to 3 V in the steps of 0.5 V (small interval can be
taken for better result)
13. Note and record corresponding reading of current and voltage.
14. Take diode current along y-axis and diode voltage along x-axis and
draw a curve.
15. The reverse characteristic of P-N junction diode is shown below.
Match your result with the shown figure.
Graph (5)
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1) We guarantee the instrument against all manufacturing defects during 24 months
from the date of sale by us or through our dealers.
2) The guarantee covers manufacturing defects in respect of indigenous components
and material limited to the warranty extended to us by the original manufacturer,
and defect will be rectified as far as lies within our control.
3) The guarantee does not cover perishable item like cathode ray tubes, crystals,
batteries, photocells etc. other imported components.
4) The guarantee will become INVALID.
a) If the instrument is not operated as per instruction given in the instruction
b) If the agreed payment terms and other conditions of sale are not followed.
c) If the customer resells the instrument to another party.
d) If any attempt is made to service and modify the instrument.
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full details of the complaints and defects noticed specifically mentioning the type
and sr. no. of the instrument, date of purchase etc.
6) The repair work will be carried out, provided the instrument is dispatched securely
packed and insured with the railways. To and fro charges will be to the account of
the customer.
List of Accessories
1. 2mm Patch Cord 8........................................................................10 Nos.
2. Mains Chord....................................................................................1 No.
3. Learning Material CD.....................................................................1 No.
4. USB to Serial Adaptor1 No.