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Carrier Drift

The process in which charged


particles move because of an electric
field is called drift.
Charged particles within a

semiconductor move with


an vh p E
Hole velocity
average velocity proportional to the
Electron velocity ve n E
electric field.
The proportionality constNotation:

p hole mobility
(cm2/Vs)
n electron mobility
(cm2/Vs)

vh
Electron current per unit area is Jn,drift = -q n
ve
In a semiconductor, both electrons and holes
conduct current:

J p ,drift qp p E

J n ,drift qn( n E )

J tot ,drift J p ,drift J n ,drift qp p E qn n E


J tot ,drift q( p p n n ) E E
isqp p qn n
The conductivity of a semiconductor
Unit: mho/cm

1
The resistivity of a semiconductor
is

Unit: ohm-cm

Carrier Diffusion
Due to thermally induced random motion, mobile
particles tend to move from a region of high
concentration to a region of low concentration.
Analogy: ink droplet in water
Current flow due to mobile charge diffusion is
proportional to the carrier concentration gradient.
dp/dx & dn/dx
The proportionality constant is the diffusion
dp

constant.

J p qD p

dx
Jn = qDn dn/dx
Notation:
Dp hole diffusion constant
(cm2/s)
Dn electron diffusion constant

Diffusion Current:
Diffusion current within a
semiconductor consists of hole and
electron components:

dp
dn
J p ,diff qD p
J n ,diff qDn
dx
dx
dn
dp
J tot ,diff q ( Dn
Dp )
dx
dx
The total current flowing in a
semiconductor is the sum of drift
current and diffusion current:

J tot J p ,drift J n ,drift J p ,diff J n ,diff

The PN Junction Diode


When a P-type semiconductor region
and an N-type semiconductorV region
D

+
are in contact, a PN junction diode
is
formed.
I
D

Hole gradient

Gradients drive diffusion

Jp, diffusion = -qDp dp/dx = current right, holes right


Electron gradient

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Jn,diffusion = -qDn dn/dx = current right, electronsleft


right

Carrier Diffusion across the


Junction
Because of the difference in hole and electron
concentrations on each side of the junction,
carriers diffuse across the junction, and forms
diffusion current.

Jen - electron current density from n-region


Jhp - hole current density from p-region
The net current density flowing across the junction
is

J(diffusion) = Jen + Jhp


Notation:
nn electron concentration on N-type side
(cm-3)
pn hole concentration on N-type side
(cm-3)
pp hole concentration on P-type side (cm3

Depletion Region
As conduction electrons and holes diffuse across the
junction, they leave behind immobile ionized
dopants. Thus, a region that is depleted of mobile
carriers is formed which is called depletion region.
The fixed ions produce electric field which is
directed from donor ions(n-region) to acceptor ions
(p-region). This field acts as barrier for the flow of
majority carriers. The process is self arresting.
Potential difference developed is called potential
barrier (Vo).

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Carrier Drift across the Junction:


Electric field across the junction prevents the diffusion of
majority carriers. Electric field has right direction to
promote the flow of minority carriers across the junction.
Holes from n-region to p- region, and electrons from pregion to n- region
The net drift current density is due to holes and electrons

Jdrift =

Jn,drift + Jp,drift

Gradients drive diffusion

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PN Junction in Equilibrium
In equilibrium, the drift and diffusion
components of current are balanced;
therefore the net current flowing across
the junction is zero.

J p ,drift J p ,diff
J n ,drift J n ,diff

J tot J p ,drift J n ,drift J p ,diff J n ,diff 0

Time < 0

Energy band structure in p-n junction

P-type piece

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N-type piece

At time = 0, slam the two pieces together

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Depletion
Region

E
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equilibrium is attained only when there is


no net current across the junction.
The reference line EF (Fermi level) must be
at the same level in two regions.
Difference leads to carrier migration and
current diffusion flow.
Energy level of electrons in the C.B on nside is high, while it is low on p-side.
Therefore electrons from n-side move into
p-side.
Energy level of holes in the V.B on p-side
is high, while it is low on n-side. Therefore
holes move from p-side move into n-side.

In N region:
Fermi level represents average energy of electrons moves
downwards.
Fermi energy must be constant at equilibrium and is fixed
relative to band structure. Its movement causes downward
shift of entire band structure.
In P region:
Fermi level represents average energy of holes moves
upwards. Its movement causes upward shift of entire band
structure.
This process continues till EFn and EFp attain the same level.
The displacement of energy bands on both sides causes
bending of energy bands at the junction.
This results in potential barrier Vo or energy hill eVo.
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Resulting in a barrier across a depletion region

C.B
=eV0

C.B

V.B

=eV0

V.B

How much is the Built-in Voltage?


The electron concentration nn in conduction band of nside is
1

nn =Nc

exp-((Eg-EF )/KT)
The edge of the conduction band on p-side is (Eg+eVo).
The hole concentration

np= Nc

np in conduction band 2of p-side Is

exp-((Eg+eVo)-EF )/KT
Dividing 1 by 2 ,
we get
n n / np =
exp((eVo)/KT)
N acceptor
level
on the p
A

Vo= KT/e ln (nn/ np )

side

Multiply and divide byNppdonor level on the n side


D
Vo= KT/e ln (nn pp / np pp )

nn =ND
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and

pp= NA

also ,

np pp = (ni) 2
2

eV
o

P-n junction under forward bias:


As there are no charge carriers at the junction, its
resistance is high as compared to the other part.
Biased voltage V appears across the junction and
effective voltage decreases to (V-Vo). It causes
increase in diffusion components of current. Minority
carriers remain same. Thus forward bias disturbs
equilibrium.
Negative terminal of external source causes increase
in electron energy and hence an upward shift of all
energy bands in n-side.
positive terminal of external source causes increase
in hole energy and hence an down ward shift of all
energy bands in p-side.

EFn and EFp get separated by value eV.

P-n junction
under
Reverse
bias:
Band
structure

P-n junction under


Reverse bias:
Applied voltage and barrier voltage are in same
direction. The net potential is (V+Vo).
Width of depletion region increases which stops diffusion
of majority carriers.

Drift current through the junction is ep + hn .


Energy levels of n-region are pulled down and Energy
levels of p-region are pushed up.

EFn and EFp get separated by value eV.

At higher value of reverse bias, the junction breaks down


and starts conducting heavily. The critical value of
voltage is called breakdown voltage, which depends on
doping level.
Resistance offered by the diode at breakdown voltage is
zero. It permanently damages the crystal structure of the