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Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistors

A metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) has three terminals, source, gate, and drain. Both the source S and drain D are n-type and the substrate between them is p-type. The gate and the p-type substrate is insulated by a thin layer of . Due to this insulation, there is no gate current to either the source or drain.

Different types of MOSFET

Qualitatively the conductivity between source and drain of an n-channel field effect transistor can be described as:

The MOSFET can therefore be considered as a voltage controlled switch. When sufficient voltage is applied between gate and source, the positive potential at the gate will induce enough electrons from the p-type substrate to form an electronic channel between source and drain, and a current shown below. between source and drain is formed, as

More accurately, the behavior of an n-channel MOSFET can be described by the function with a threshold voltage , as plotted below:

This function can be divided into three different (piece-wise linear) regions: Cutoff region: When two pn-junctions, i.e. (b) of the figure above.

, no current flows through S and D, due to the , independent of and . This is illustrated in part (i.e.,

Triode region: When

), some electrons in the p-type substrate (minority carriers) are pulled toward the gate to form a inversion layer close to the gate to form an ntype channel with certain resistance between S and D. The current increases proportionally to , with a linear coefficient

(Ohm's law), and also nonlinearly as increases (to pull more electrons toward the gate to enhance the conductivity of the n-channel). Saturation region: When but increases further, the voltage

between gate and e-channel close to the drain becomes small and the e-channel close to the drain narrows. In particular, when , the voltage between gate and drain is:

In this case, the e-channel at the D end is nearly closed (pinch-off),


saturated and maintains at a constant value independent of (as higher tends to draw more electrons toward the drain on the one hand but also enhance the pinch-off effect on the other). Now is only affected by , i.e., the transistor behaves like a voltage controlled current source, as illustrated in part (c) of the figure above. In summary, the current is controlled by both voltages and , as shown in is related to

the plots above. Specifically, for all by:

, the current

The triode region and the saturation region is separated by the curve . In terms of the current from drain to source, this curve can also be represented by Example 1: Assume when independent of . . , the MOSFET is in cutoff region with .


and affected by both

, the and .

MOSFET is in linear or triode region with

when determined only by .

, the MOSFET is in saturation region with

Example 2: Assume and , and both MOSFETs in the following circuit are in the saturation region. Find output voltage .

Since both MOSFETs are in saturation region with the same only by but independent of , their

which is determined

must be the same. The upper , i.e., the output

MOSFET must have the same voltage has to be .

as the lower one

Comparison between BJT and FET

BJT has a low input resistance

. But as MOSFET's gate is insulated from the

channel ( ), it draws virtually no input current and therefore its input resistance is infinity in theory.

BJT is current ( or ) controlled, but MOSFET is voltage ( ) controlled. Consequently, the power consumption of MOSFETs is lower than BJTs.

MOSFETs are easy to fabricate in large scale and have higher element density than BJTs. MOSFETs have thin insulation layer which is more prone to statics and requires special protection. BJTs have higher cutoff frequency and higher maximum current than MOSFETs. MOSFETs are much more widely used (especially in computers and digital systems) than BJTs.