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Bipolar Junction Transistor (BJT)


(External reference on Wikipedia)
A Bipolar Junction Transistor (BJT) has three terminals connected to three doped semiconductor regions. In an NPN transistor, a thin and lightly doped P-type
base is sandwiched between a heavily doped N-type emitter and another N-type collector; while in a PNP transistor, a thin and lightly doped N-type base is
sandwiched between a heavily doped P-type emitter and another P-type collector. In the following we will only consider NPN BJTs.

In many schematics of transistor circuits (especially when there exist a large number of transistors in the circuit), the circle in the symbol of a transistor is
omitted. The figures below show the cross section of two NPN transistors. Note that although both the collector and emitter of a transistor are made of N-type
semiconductor material, they have totally different geometry and therefore can not be interchanged.

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All previously considered components (resistor, capacitor, inductor, and diode) have two terminals (leads) and can therefore be characterized by the single
relationship between the current going through and the voltage across the two leads. Differently, a transistor is a three-terminal component, which could be
considered as a two-port network with an input-port and an output-port, each formed by two of the three terminals, and characterized by the relationships of
both input and output currents and voltages.
Depending on which of the three terminals is used as common terminal, there can be three possible configurations for the two-port network formed by a
transistor:
Common emitter (CE),
Common base (CB),
Common collector (CC).

Common-Base (CB) configuration


Two voltages

and

are applied respectively to the emitter

and collector

, with respect to the common base

, so that the BE

junction is forward biased while the CB junction is reverse biased.

The behavior of the NPN-transistor is determined by its two PN-junctions:


The forward biased base-emitter (BE) PN-junction allows the free electrons in emitter to go through the PN-junction to arrive at the base,
forming the emitter current .
As the P-type base is thin and lightly doped, only a small number of the electrons from the emitter are combined with the holes in base to form the
base current .
Most of the electrons coming from the emitter become minority carriers in the P-type base, and they go through the reverse biased collector-base
PN junction to arrive at the collector.
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The percentage of those electrons that arrive at the collector out of the electrons from the emitter is defined as

(e.g.,

depending on the doping and geometry of the material).


The minority carriers originally in the base and collector also go through the reverse biased collector-base PN junction to form the collector-base
saturation current
. As
, it can be ignored in the following.
The total collector current

is therefore:

The current gain or current transfer ratio is defined as the ratio between the emitter (input) current

The base current

and the collector (output) current

is:

The CB configuration can be considered as a 2-port circuit. The input port is formed by the emitter and base, the output port is formed by the collector
and base. The relationships between the current and voltage of both the input and output ports are described by the following input and output
characteristics.
Input characteristics:
The input current

is a function of

as well as the input voltage

, which is much more dominant:

where

This relationship between


higher

and

can slightly increase

as the EB junction is very similar to the relationship of

and

of a diode. Also, we also note

Output characteristics:
The output current

As

is a function of the output voltage

as well as the input current

, i.e., the CB junction is reverse biased, the current

depends totally on

, which is much more dominant:

. When

is the current

caused by the minority carriers crossing the PN-junction. This is similar to the diode current-voltage characteristics seen before, except both axes
are reversed (as both
and
are defined in the opposite directions). When
is increased,
is
increased correspondingly. Higher
As

can slightly increase

, CB configuration does not have current-amplification effect. However, if

is held constant,

and therefore

will also be held constant, i.e., CB transistor circuit can be used as a current source.

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Common-Emitter (CE) configuration


Two voltages

and

are applied respectively to the base

and collector

with respect to the common emitter

. As typically

, the BE junction is forward biased but the CB junction is reverse biased, same as the CB configuration. The voltages of CB and CE
configurations are related by:

The base current

is treated as the input current, and the collector current

Solving this equation for

, we get the relationship between the output

is treated as the output current:

and the input

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where we have defined the CE current gain, the ratio of the output current

and

and the input current

is the reverse saturation current between collector and emitter.

The two parameters

For example, if

and

are related by any of the following:

, then

The CE configuration can be considered as a 2-port circuit. The input port is formed by the base and emitter, the output port is formed by the collector
and emitter. The relationships between the current and voltage of both the input and output ports are described by the following input and output
characteristics.
Input characteristics:
Same as in the case of common-base configuration, the EB junction of the common-emitter configuration can also be considered as a forward
biased diode, the current-voltage characteristics is similar to that of a diode:

has little effect on

Output characteristics:

Higher

can slightly increase

The CB junction is reverse biased, the current


,
by

, the current caused by the minority carriers crossing the PN-junctions. When

depends on the current


is increased,

. When

is correspondingly increased

fold.

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The relationship between the input and output currents of both CB and CE configurations is summarized below:
CB

CE

The collector characteristics of the common-base (CB) and common-emitter (CE) configurations have the following differences:
In CB circuit

is slightly less than

In CB circuit,
Increased

when
will slightly increase

and

when

but more greatly increase


and

(as

has the effect of suppressing

, thereby causing more significantly increased

, but the former is much more significant then the latter.

).

in CE is a function of two

, but the former is much more significant then the latter.

in CB is a function of two variables

and

increase will not cause much change in


is mostly determined by
in CE is a function of two variables
when

is much greater than

; while in CE circuit

in CB is a function of two variables


variables

, while in CE circuit

. When

is small, its slight increase will cause significant increase of

due to saturation (all available charge carriers travel at the saturation velocity to arrive at collector C),
.
and

. When

is small (

, its further increase will not cause much change in

velocity to arrive at collector C),

. But its further

is mostly determined by

), its slight increase will cause significant increase of

. But

due to saturation (all available charge carriers travel at the saturation


.

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Various parameters of a transistor change as functions of temperature. For example,

increases along with temperature.

next up previous
Next: DC operating point Up: ch4 Previous: Diodes
Ruye Wang 2016-07-25

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