BOOK_CONTENT
From RF Systems, Components, and Circuits Handbook, Second Edition

This chapter discusses semiconductor diodes and circuits. Topics include semiconductor materials, "ordinary" junction diodes, Zener diodes, Schottky-barrier diodes, PIN diodes, varactor diodes, step-recovery diodes, tunnel diodes, Gunn-effect diodes, IMPATT diodes, LEDs, IR laser diodes, and IR photodiodes.

Some of the information presented here is adapted from [1, 2].

17.1 Semiconductor Materials

Some of the following material is quoted or adapted from [1].

Semiconductors are materials that have electrical conductivities intermediate between those of metals and insulators, that is, they are "semi" conductors. These materials are found in column IV and neighboring columns of the periodic table. The column IV materials of interest are silicon (Si) and germanium (Ge), with Si being the most important, and are referred to as elemental semiconductors. The elements in column III of interest are boron (B), aluminum (Al), gallium (Ga), and indium (In). These elements are used as doping materials for Si or other semiconductor materials for producing p-type material. The elements in column V of interest are phosphorus (P), arsenic (As), and antimony (Sb). These elements are used as doping materials for Si or other semiconductor materials for producing n-type materials.

Compounds of materials from columns III and V make up part of the intermetallic or compound semiconductors. These III-V semiconductors include AlP, AlAs, AlSb, GaP, GaAs, GaSb, InP, InAs, InSb. Of these, gallium arsenide (GaAs) is the most important and has been used for microwave and higher frequency FET devices and Gunn diodes. GaAs has also been used for Schottky-barrier diodes, tunnel...

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Products & Services
RF Diodes
RF diodes are designed to handle high-power radio frequency (RF) signals in stereo amplifiers, radio transmitters, television monitors, and other RF or microwave devices.
Diodes
Diodes are electronic components that conduct electric current in only one direction, functioning as a one-way valve. Diodes are manufactured using semiconductor materials such as silicon, germanium or selenium and are used as voltage regulators, signal rectifiers, oscillators and signal modulators / demodulators.
Gunn and IMPATT Diodes
Gunn diodes or transfer electron devices (TED) exhibit a negative resistance region. They are used in high-frequency applications, often for building RF oscillators. Impact ionization avalanche transit-time (IMPATT) diodes are designed to operate at very high frequency and power. They are used as elements in RF and microwave devices.
Schottky Diodes
Schottky diodes in their simplest form consist of a metal layer that contacts a semiconductor element. The metal / semiconductor junctions exhibit rectifying behavior (i.e., the current passes through the structure more readily with one polarity than the other).

Topics of Interest

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Overview The first transistor invented used elemental germanium as the semiconducting material. Silicon because of its inherent advantages, such as thermal stability, abundance and availability of a...