Working of PN-junction Diode under Forward and Reverse Bias Conditions

In order to consider the working of a diode,we shall consider the effect of forward and Reverse Bias across PN-junction.

Forward Bias:-

Forward Bias means the Positive terminal of the Battery has been  connected to P-type and negative terminal to N-type in a PN-junction diode that is when an external voltage is applied to PN-junction in such a way that it cancels the barrier potential and permits the current flow such a bias  is called as Forward-Bais.

Under No Bias voltage condition, Near the junction the holes moves towards the junction and electrons as well forms a region known as Depletion region, the region depleted with immobile ions .

when the applied voltage V establishes an electric field opposite to the potential barrier , as a result the width of the potential barrier is reduced as it is very small

0.3 Volts in Ge diode and 

0.7 Volts in Si diode.

∴ a small voltage (V) is sufficient to completely eliminate the barrier that is the barrier is completely eliminated and the resistance at the junction becomes zero and the current flow across the diode can be explained as follows.

Now holes move towards junction simultaneously electrons since holes and electrons were repelled by the opposite terminals of the Battery, As the Battery voltage is sufficiently greater than barrier voltage electrons and holes gets sufficient energy to cross the barrier easily.

The continuous current in external circuit is due to electrons, the current in N-type material is due to movement of free electrons, when these electrons reaches the junction they combine with the holes at the junction and releases a new electron.Similarly, in the P-type region current is due to holes.

i.e, when an electron-hole combination takes place near the junction ,   A co-valent bond near positive terminal of the battery breaks down and it liberates an electron which moves towards positive terminal of the Battery as electron movement is  towards positive terminal of the Battery this can be treated as hole movement in opposite direction.

therefore the constant movement of electrons and holes towards opposite terminals creates a high forward current in the external circuit.

PN-juction Diode in Reverse-Bias:-

When an External voltage V is applied to a PN-junction in such a way(direction) that it increases the Potential barrier is called as Reverse Bias that is Positive terminal of the Battery connected to N-type and negative terminal to P-type. 

The applied voltage V acts in the Same direction to that of Potential Barrier.

that is when the PN-junction is Reverse Biased

  • The junction Potential Barrier width increases.
  • The junction offers higher resistance.
  • electrons and holes move away from the junction and a very small current flows through the junction because of  minority carriers known as Reverse saturation current.


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Author: Lakshmi Prasanna

Completed M.Tech in Digital Electronics and Communication Systems and currently working as a faculty.