Sunday, 1 September 2013

Avalanche and Zener breakdown

Avalanche and Zener Breakdown.

Zener Breakdown

In Zener breakdown the electrostatic attraction between the negative electrons and a large positive voltage is so great that it pulls electrons out of their covalent bonds and away from their parent atoms. ie Electrons are transferred from the valence to the conduction band. In this situation the current can still be limited by the limited number of free electrons produced by the applied voltage so it is possible to cause Zener breakdown without damaging the semiconductor.


Avalanche Breakdown

Avalanche breakdown occurs when the applied voltage is so large that electrons that are pulled from their covalent bonds are accelerated to great velocities. These electrons collide with the silicon atoms and knock off more electrons. These electrons are then also accelerated and subsequently collide with other atoms. Each collision produces more electrons which leads to more collisions etc. The current in the semiconductor rapidly increases and the material can quickly be destroyed


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