Diodes and Semiconductor Basics

SKU: C-825Duration: 21 Minutes

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Language:  English

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Course Details


Training Time: 21 minutes

Compatibility: Desktop, Tablet, Phone

Based on: Industry Standards and Best Practices

Languages: English

Diodes and the technology on which they operate form the foundation for most of the electronics that we use every day. These devices are based on a class of elements known as semiconductors. This module will discuss how the atomic properties of semiconductors lead to the electrical behaviors seen in diodes, and how diodes can be applied in basic circuits.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the basic components of an atom
  • Describe the difference between an insulator, conductor, and semiconductor
  • Explain doping in a semiconductor
  • Describe the difference between P-type and N-type semiconductor material
  • Describe the depletion region in a diode
  • Explain the difference between forward and reverse bias in a diode
  • List some applications of conventional diodes
  • Explain what is unique about Zener diodes
  • Explain how light emitting diodes create light

Key Questions

The following key questions are answered in this module:

What is an elemental semiconductor?
A semiconductor, as the name implies, is an element that is not a particularly good electrical conductor or insulator, it has electrical conduction properties that are between the two.

What process is used to increase the conductivity of elemental semiconductors?
The conductivity of an elemental semiconductor can be significantly increased by a process known as doping. This involves infusing a small amount of certain other elements into the atomic structure of a pure semiconductor.

What is the defining electrical characteristic of a diode?
A diode will conduct electrical current and allow flow in only one direction. If the polarity of the voltage across the diode is reversed, there will be virtually no current flow.

What is the difference between P-type and N-type semiconductors?
When an elemental semiconductor is doped with a trivalent element, the resulting material has an electron deficiency, or holes in the atomic structure. This is called P-type material. N-type material is created by doping with a pentavalent element and the result is a material with extra, loosely held electrons.

What is a common electrical circuit that uses diodes?
Diodes are commonly used in rectifier circuits. A rectifier converts alternating current into direct current.

Sample Video Transcript

Below is a transcript of the video sample provided for this module:

A semiconductor diode is made up of a PN junction. In general terms, the junction permits the diode to be like a one-way valve, allowing current to easily flow in one direction, and stopping it from flowing in the reverse direction. Assume that a negative voltage is applied to a terminal connection on the N-region of a diode and a positive voltage is applied to P-region. This is called forward biasing. The application of external negative voltage pushes the free electrons in the N-region toward the junction, thereby reducing the width and resistance of the junction. Once the applied external voltage exceeds the internal electrical potential holding the electrons back, electrons move into the P-region and create a current flow by moving from hole to hole and exiting at the positive terminal.

Additional Resources

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