# Lecture 3: Transistors

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1 Lecture 3: Transistors Now that we know about diodes, let s put two of them together, as follows: collector base emitter n p n moderately doped lightly doped, and very thin heavily doped At first glance, this looks like an insulator but the actual behavior is far more interesting, if we apply external voltages properly

2 Let s apply the following voltages: n + v CE + v BE p n First, assume v CE is 0. Then, if v BE is bigger than the diode drop, a current flows through the forward-biased diode from base to emitter call this current the base current, i B

3 Now let s start cranking up v CE this attracts more electrons from the base to the collector collector current i c increases this is called the saturation region of the transistor at relatively small v CE, all the electrons coming in to the base get scooped up by the collector when this happens we enter the active region of the transistor Let s follow an electron up from the emitter in the active region first it enters the base, where it has two choices: 1. drop into a hole in the p doped base. This is called recombining, and electrons that do this will end up contributing to i B 2. drift across the junction to the collector. Electrons that do this will end up contributing to i C

4 But recall that we made the base thin, and lightly doped (not many holes available) the chances of recombining are not good! If the recombination probability is 1-α, the ratio of base and collector currents will be: i i i C B C α = β 1 α = βi Typically β is ~100 Note what this means: the transistor can control the (large) collector current by adjusting the (small) base current the inverse is not true: the base current can t be changed much by adjusting v CE B

5 Transistor uses The type of transistor just described is a npn bipolar junction transistor Schematic symbol: base collector emitter One can also make pnp bipolar junction transistors Summary of i c as a function of v CE for a given i B : βi B If v CE gets too big, the transistor breaks down i C becomes large transistor might fry

6 Transistor properties are useful for two reasons: 1. Can control large-power circuit with small-power input 2. Can isolate different regions of complex circuits This greatly simplifies the design of such circuits

7 Transistor rules In order to take advantage of the nice behavior we want in the transistor, we must keep in mind the following rules: 1. V C must be greater than V E 2. Base-collector and base-emitter act like diodes 3. Base-emitter is forward-biased, base-collector is reversebiased i C βi B 4. There are maximum values of i B, i C, and V CE that can t be exceeded without destroying the transistor

8 Common emitter circuit One useful transistor circuit is the following: v out input circuit v BE v CC output circuit v in The input circuit can control what happens in the output circuit, but not vice-versa v CC is a constant bias voltage want to see how v out varies with v in

9 First analyze the input circuit If v in is less than the diode drop in the transistor (~0.7V): i B = 0 v BE = v in This is the cutoff region for the circuit For larger v in, we have: v BE v i R v = i in B B BE B = const 0.7V v in v R B BE 0

10 Now look at the output circuit First consider just the load part v i R v = i C CC C L out = v CC v R L out 0 This linear dependence of i C on v out is called the load line for the circuit But we also know that i C depends on i B, which in turn depends on v out

11 The result of doing this looks like: active region: i c increasing cutoff region: i c = 0 saturated region: i c large and constant As one goes from the cutoff region to the saturated region, the output circuit goes from OFF (no current) to ON (large current) The transistor is acting like a switch! Transistor switches form the basis of digital electronics

12 Small signal amplification Amplifying signals is another very common use for a transistor Signal means that the variations in the signal do not move the transistor outside of the active region A small-signal amplifier might look like: C 1 is a blocking capacitor Keeps transistor in active region regardless of DC input voltage Has very small impedance for the signal we want to amplify

13 Analysis of our circuit We ll set the circuit parameters as: R S = 1kΩ, R 1 = 5.6kΩ, R 2 = 50kΩ, R C = 10kΩ, R E = 1kΩ V CC = +10V Transistor β = 100 First assume the signal generator is off, so all voltages are derived from V CC V CC is divided by R 1 and R 2 to give a voltage at the transistor s base of: R1 V = BB V CC 1.0V R + R = 1 2 This is greater than the 0.7V needed to start current flowing into the base

14 To find the value of i B, we divide the emitter voltage by the impedance given by R 1 and R 2 in parallel good approximation since the internal impedance of the power supply is low, so both R 1 and R 2 can be considered as connected to ground i B VBB V = = = 60 µ A R R 5kΩ 1 2 This means that the collector current is: i C = βi = 6mA B At this point we should verify that the transistor is in its active region It is! See text for details

15 Looking at the output circuit, we have: V = V = V I R out C CC C C (true because the capacitors look like short circuits for the signals we care about) So the change in the output signal voltage is: Vout = RC IC The currents in the emitter and collector are nearly the same, so: Vout = RC I E The change in I E is related to the change in V E by: I = E V R E E

16 We also know that the emitter voltage is the base voltage the diode drop, so: = V 0.7V V = V = v Which means that: V E VE RC V = R = v RE RE For our example, this means that: The signal is amplified by a factor of 10! BB E BB in out C in VE V = R = 10 v R out C in E the minus sign means the signal is also inverted

17 Some notes: The gain of the amplifier depends on the values of the resistors, not on the β of the transistor That s a good design, since β can very substantially from transistor to transistor (even of the same model) What if we want a gain so large that the small-signal circuit can t be used? just use the output as the input to another small-signal amp, and repeat as needed only problem is that one will also be repeatedly amplifying noise on the signal that s solved by the use of feedback (next week s lecture)

18 Field-effect transistors Another type of transistor is the field-effect transistor (FET) Comes in two varieties 1. junction FET (JFET) 2. metal oxide semiconductor FET (MOSFET) They behave similarly, so we ll look at the JFET in detail Physical picture: n-doped p-doped current channel depleted region

19 It s basically a reverse-biased pn junction no current through depleted region means gate current i G is zero implies extremely large input impedance What happens as the gate voltage is increased? The depleted region grows The conduction channel gets smaller resistance increases:

20 JFET operating regions To see how the JFET works, let s fix v GS (it must be negative to reverse-bias the diode) and see what happens to i D as v DS increases at first, i D increases due to the increasing voltage this is called the ohmic region, since the JFET behaves much like a resistor but increasing v DS also enlarges the depleted region, restricting current flow. Eventually current becomes constant as v DS increases this is the saturation region if v DS becomes very large, the transistor breaks down Note also that v GS can be made more negative until the entire JFET is depleted thus no current flows regardless of v DS this is the cutoff region of the transistor

21 JFET notes The saturated region of the JFET behaves similarly to the active region of the bipolar junction transistor FETs are useful because there is essentially no input current Thus the output current can be controlled with nearly no input power In this sense, FETs are more nearly ideal transistors than bipolar junctions are Integrated circuits ( chips ) are made by forming many FET s on layers of silicon Main limitation of FETs is maximum current they can handle For high-current applications the bipolar junction is a better choice

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