Working principle of MOSFET


      The n-type Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Field-Effect-Transistor (MOSFET) consists of a source and a drain, two highly conducting n-type semiconductor regions which are isolated from the p-type substrate by reversed-biased p-n diodes. A metal (or poly-crystalline) gate covers the region between source and drain, but is separated from the semiconductor by the gate oxide. The basic structure of an n-type MOSFET and the corresponding circuit symbol are shown in figure.

Crosssection and circuit symbol of MOSFET

  • As can be seen on the figure the source and drain regions are identical . It is the applied voltages which determine which n-type region provides the electrons and becomes the source, while the other n-type region collects the electrons and becomes the drain. The voltages applied to the drain and gate electrode as well as to the substrate by means of a back contact are refered to the source potential, as also indicated on the figure.

  • A top view of the same MOSFET is shown in figure, where the gate length, L, and gate width, W, are identified. Note that the gate length does not equal the physical dimension of the gate, but rather the distance between the source and drain regions underneath the gate.

  • The overlap between the gate and the source and drain region is required to ensure that the inversion layer forms a continuous conducting path between the source and drain region. Typically this overlap is made as small as possible in order to minimize its parasitic capacitance.

Top view of N - type MOSFET

  • The flow of electrons from the source to the drain is controlled by the voltage applied to the gate. A positive voltage applied to the gate, attracts electrons to the interface between the gate dielectric and the semiconductor. These electrons form a conducting channel between the source and the drain, called the inversion layer.

  • No gate current is required to maintain the inversion layer at the interface since the gate oxide blocks any carrier flow. The net result is that the current between drain and source is controlled by the voltage which is applied to the gate.

MOSFET (V- I ) characteristics

Click the image for MOSFET animation:

 MOSFET animation.png

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