Features of MOSFET
Features of MOSFET:
- Historically, bipolar semiconductor devices (i.e, diode, transistor, thyristor, thyristor, GTO etc) have been the front runners in the quest for an ideal power electronic switch. Ever since the invention of the transistor, the development of solid-state switches with increased power handling capability has been of interest for expending the application of these devices.
- The BJT and the GTO thyristor have been developed over the past 30 years to serve the need of the power electronic industry. Their primary advantages over the thyristors have been the superior switching speed and the ability to interrupt the current without reversal of the device voltage.
- All bipolar devices, however, suffer from a common set of disadvantages, namely, (i) limited switching speed due to considerable redistribution of minority charge carriers associated with every switching operation; (ii) relatively large control power requirement which complicates the control circuit design. Besides, bipolar devices cannot be paralleled easily.
- The reliance of the power electronics industry upon bipolar devices was challenged by the introduction of a new MOS gate controlled power device technology in the 1980s. The power MOS field effect transistor (MOSFET) evolved from the MOS integrated circuit technology. The new device promised extremely low input power levels and no inherent limitation to the switching speed.
- Thus, it opened up the possibility of increasing the operating frequency in power electronic systems resulting in reduction in size and weight. The initial claims of infinite current gain for the power MOSFET were, however, diluted by the need to design the gate drive circuit to account for the pulse currents required to charge and discharge the high input capacitance of these devices.
- At high frequency of operation the required gate drive power becomes substantial. MOSFETs also have comparatively higher on state resistance per unit area of the device cross section which increases with the blocking voltage rating of the device.
- Consequently, the use of MOSFET has been restricted to low voltage (less than about 500 volts) applications where the ON state resistance reaches acceptable values. Inherently fast switching speed of these devices can be effectively utilized to increase the switching frequency beyond several hundred kHz.
- From the point of view of the operating principle a MOSFET is a voltage controlled majority carrier device. As the name suggests, movement of majority carriers in a MOSFET is controlled by the voltage applied on the control electrode (called gate) which is insulated by a thin metal oxide layer from the bulk semiconductor body.
- The electric field produced by the gate voltage modulates the conductivity of the semiconductor material in the region between the main current carrying terminals called the Drain (D) and the Source (S).
- Power MOSFETs, just like their integrated circuit counterpart, can be of two types (i) depletion type and (ii) enhancement type. Both of these can be either n- channel type or p-channel type depending on the nature of the bulk semiconductor.
- Depletion type MOSFETs are normally ON type switches i.e, with the gate terminal open a nonzero drain current can flow in these devices. This is not convenient in many power electronic applications. Therefore, the enhancement type MOSFETs (particularly of the n-channel variety) is more popular for power electronics applications.