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Designation : Lecturer
Branch : Electronics & communication Engg
Institute : Govt. Polytechnic, Visakhapatnam
Year/Semester : III Semester
Subject : Electronics -I
Subject Code : EE-305
Topic : Special devices
Duration : 50Mts.
Sub Topic : Photo diode
Teaching Aids : Diagrams

EE-305.53 1

• Already we know about the LED constructional details.

• LED working principle.

• LED characteristics.

EE-305.53 2

• Upon completion of this period the student will be

able to know

• The Photodiode construction.

• Working of Photodiode.

• Characteristics of Photodiode.

• Applications of Photodiode.

EE-305.53 3
Do you know

• How PN junction is formed.

• Behavior of PN junction diode under reverse biasing.

• How reverse current increases in a PN junction diode.

EE-305.50 4
Construction of Photo diode

• The basic biasing V
construction and symbol
of photo diode are shown
in the fig. A

EE-305.53 5
Construction of Photo diode

• The diode is embedded in

clear plastic capsule. This
is placed in a metallic
case with a small window,
to allow the incident light
to fall at the junction.

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Construction of Photo diode

• The convex lens is used

in the cap of the unit by
which maximum light can
be focussed as a sharp
beam on the junction.

EE-305.53 7
Principle of Photo diode

• A Photodiode is P N
basically a reverse
biased P-N diode whose R
junction is exposed to
the radiant energy

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Principle of Photo diode

• When a P-N diode is

reverse biased, small
reverse saturation current
flows due to the presence
of minority carriers. P N

• This current depends on

the number of minority V
carriers .

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Principle of Photo diode

• The minority current

carriers can be increased by
increasing the junction P N
• This can be achieved by
illuminating the junction with
incident light. V

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Principle of Photo diode

• The incident light energy

generates electron-hole
pairs, which sweep across
the junction. P N

• If the illumination level is
increased, more number of
minority charge carriers are
generated and hence the V
reverse current is increased.

EE-305.53 11
Principle of Photo diode

• Even though the reverse

bias is reduced to zero,
the minority carriers
sweep across the junction R
due to the barrier
potential at the junction.

EE-305.53 12
Illumination characteristics of Photo diode

• The figure shows the

characteristics of

EE-305.53 13
Illumination characteristics of Photo diode

• When there is no
illumination, the current is
equal to the reverse
saturation current.

• This current is known as

‘dark current’ of photo

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Illumination characteristics of Photo diode

• When the light falls on the

junction, more electron-
hole pairs are generated,
by which the reverse
current also increases.

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Illumination characteristics of Photo diode

• Therefore, when the illumination

intensity is increased, the reverse
current also increases as shown
in the graph.

• If reverse bias exceeding few

tenths of a volt, the diode current
is almost constant which is
independent of the magnitude of
the reverse bias.

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Applications of Photo diode

• Since photo diode have high operating speed (switching

time is in the order of nano seconds)

• They are especially used in high seed tape readers,

• In LASER data-links,

• In high speed reading of computer punched cards and


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Applications of Photo diode

• They can be used for the detection of low-level optical

signals in optical communication systems.

• They are also used for switching applications in logic

circuits and encoders.

• In addition to the above, photo diodes can also be used

in film sound tracking, star tracking and photometry

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• Photodiode is operated in reverse biasing.

• When illumination level increased the reverse current


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The current flowing through a photo diode when there is no

light is

• (a) more

• (b) dark current

• (c) high current

• (d) none of the above.

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Frequently asked questions

• Explain working of photodiode with the help of relevant


• List the applications of photodiode

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