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1966

LETTERS

1093

PROCEEDIKGS

b) nonzero output conductance of the equivalent generator for


the local oscillator circuit, which occasions small changes in
the effective values of the crystal mount.

CONCLUSIOK
Our work shows that classical calculations of a microwave mixer
diode performances are still valid with an X band intermediate frequency, and that theygive a good value for the conversion loss.
Another interest of microwave intermediatefrequencyin
receivers is the drastic decrease of local oscillator noise, and the large
pass band (absolute value) which may be used. This is specially useful in radar systems.3
Smaller conversion loss may be obtainable with junction diodes.4
We think that we can improve these results by trying varactors
and tunnel diodes as microwave mixers.

MME. LIGEON
E. PIC
Ecole Nationale Superieure d'Electronique
University of Grenoble
Grenoble, France
8 H. ALlaries. "Une installation de radar pour ondes de 4 mm." Rro. Technique
PhiliDS. vol. 25. no. 8 . DD. 209-222. 1963-1964.
4 D..T. Y o k g and-J. C. I&,'
'Millimeter frequency conversion using Au-8;
type GaAs Schottky barrier epitaxial diodes with a novel contacting technique,
Proc. I E E E (Conespondcncc). voL 53, pp. 2130-2131. December 1965.

Operation of a M O S Transistor as a
Variable Resistor
An FET transistor, operating below saturation, can perform the
function of a variable resistor within a limited voltage range. This
restriction is due to the asymmetry and nonlinearity of its characteristics, especially for reverse drainpolarity. It has been shown
elsewhere that in the case of the junction FET a perfect symmetry
and a remarkable improvement in linearity is achieved if half of the
drain voltage is fed back to the gate [ l ] , [2]. The following work
shows that the same situation holds for a MOS transistor if the substrate is kept floating.
Let us assumea MOS n-channel enhancementtransistor,
as
shown in Fig. l(a). (For a +channel device reverse all voltage and
current polarities.) Before saturation is reached, the drain-current
I D ,as a function of the drain-voltage V D ,is given by [SI,

arrangement where half of the drain-voltage is fed back~to-the-gat;.Foi-G%I


parative purposes, the dc gate-voltage is always adjusted to the Same value as
Fig. l(al.(c) Theoretical drain characteristics of an MOS transistor for both
cases of Fig. l(a)and (b).

The drainvolt-ampere characteristics, as given by (1) and limited


by (3a), are asymmetrical and not linear as shown in Fig. l(c), with
a dynamic resistance I a t the origin given by

where

VG=gate-source bias voltage


Vp= turn-on threshold voltage
A=pCo/LZ

If a voltage feedback from drain to gate is established, as in Fig.


1(b), such that the actual gatesource voltage is

and

VD
p=carrier mobility
Co=gate oxide capacitance
L = channel length.

vG'=V a + - T
(1) becomes

I D = A ( V o - VTIVD

Saturation or pinch-off at the drainis attained when


VG

- VT = VD

Manuscript received April 20,1966.

(2)

and the characteristics are ideally linear. Under this condition the
drain-source immittance behaves as a pure resistor R, equal to the
previous I ,

R = A(Vc 1- V T )

IEEE

THE

OF
PROCEEDISGS

AUGUST

200 m v l s q u a r e

200 m v l s q u a r e

(a)Drain-current vs. drain-voltagecharacteristics of a p-channelenhancement


MOS transistor (Vr = -3 V) for V G= -3.1 V.. -3.5 V, and -5 V.

(b) The Same as Fig. 2(a) but with 50 percent feedback from drain to gate
a s shown in Fig. 1(b)

2 V 1s q u a r e

2 Vlsquare

(d) The Same a s Fig. P(c) with the feedback arrangement


of Fig. 1(b).

(c) Drain characteristics of the same transistor asin Fig. 2(a).


Fig. 2.

For negative drain voltages, saturation of pinch-off at thesource


may also occur when

VO - VT = 0.

(8)

Substitution of gate voltage VG instead of V Gin (2) and (8) will


now give two symmetrical pinch-off transitions which limit the range
of linear resistance. The coordinates of these transition points are

VDl

k 2(v0 - V T )

(9)

The positive pinch-off occurs a t the drain side and the negative
at the source side, this being possible due to the floating substrate.
( D )with
Figures l(c), 2(a), and2(b), show the characteristics l ~ = f V
and without current feedback for the same reverse gate bias
( V G - V T ) .Beyond pinch-off, the conventional pentode characteristics
are no longer possible, the feedback action linearly changing the gatevoltage and consequently the drain-current. In all cases high value
resistors ( > 2 Mn) have been used for the feedback network in order
to avoid shunting of the drain-source resistance.

The feedback MOS arrangement shows symmetry also for


V G <VT; inthis
case theturn-on threshold is achieved a t V D
= & 2 ( V r - VG), thetransistor
being cutoff in-between. Beyond
theselimits, turn-onand pinch-off occur simultaneously and the
triode characteristics of a normal F E T with reverse drain polarity [4]
now appear symmetrically split, as is shown in Figs. 2(c) and 2(d).
If floating substrates or feedback networks should be avoided, it
is also possible to improve the linearity a t low levels by simply connecting the substrate to the drain. In this case, for normal drainsource voltages, current is defined by the gate controlled sourcesubstrate diode, and for reverse drain-voltages, thetransistor exhibits the usual triode characteristics.
ALBERTO BILOTTI
Microelectronic Develop.
Sprague Electric Co.
North Adams. Mass.
REFERENCES
(11 T. B. Martin, Circuit applications of the field-effect transistor. Semiconductor
Products. vol. 5 . pp. 3&38. March 1962.
(21 F. D. Neu,Voltagecontrolssolld-statenonlinearresistance.
Electronics.

vol. 37. pp. 36-38 February 21 1964.


131 C T S a h C h a k t e r i s t i c s
oi the metal-oxidesemiconductor
tranSiStOrS.
I E E E Trans. on Electron Dem.ces. yol. ED-11, pp. 324-345,July 1964.
141 R. M. Warner. Jr.. @High-input Impedance, low-output Impedance amplifier
configuration. Proc. I E E E (Correspondence). vol. 53. p. 538, May 1965.