AN-9010 MOSFET Basics - Fairchild Semiconductor
The Bipolar Power Transistor (BPT), as a switching device
for power applications, had a few disadvantages. This led to
the development of the power Metal Oxide Semiconductor
Field Effect Transistor (MOSFET). The power MOSFET is
used in applications such as Switched Mode Power Supplies
(SMPS), computer peripherals, automotive, and motor
control. Continuous research has improved its
characteristics for replacing the BJT. This application note
is a general description of power MOSFETs and a
presentation of some of Fairchild’s product specifications.
The theory behind the Field Effect Transistor (FET) has
been known since 1920~1930, which is 20 years before the
bipolar junction transistor was invented. At that time, J.E.
Lilienfeld of the USA suggested a transistor model having
two metal contacts on each side with a metallic plate
(aluminum) on top of the semiconductor. The electric field
© 2000 Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation
Rev. 1.0.5 • 9/4/13
at the semiconductor surface, formed by the voltage
supplied at the metallic plate, enables the control of the
current flow between the metal contacts. This was the initial
concept of the FET. Due to lack of appropriate
semiconductor materials and immature technology,
development was very slow. William Shockely introduced
Junction Field Effect Transistors (JFETs) in 1952. Dacey
and Ross improved on it in 1953. In JFETs, Lilienfeld’s
metallic field is replaced by a P-N junction, the metal
contacts are called source and drain, and the field effect
electrode is called a gate. Research in small-signal
MOSFETs continued without any significant improvements
in power MOSFET design, until new products were
introduced in the 1970s.
In March of 1986, Fairchild formed with nine people and
began research on power MOSFETs. 1990’s, Fairchild has
developed a QFET® devices using planar technology and
low-voltage PowerTrench® products using trench
1.1. Junction Field Effect Transistors (JFETs)
There are two types of JFETs: an N-channel type and a Pchannel type. They both control the drain-to-source current
by the voltage supplied to the gate. As shown in Figure 1 (a)
, if the bias is not supplied at the gate, the current flows
from the drain to the source. When the bias is supplied at the
gate, the depletion region begins to grow and reduces the
current, as shown in Figure 1 (b). The reason for the wider
depletion region of the drain, compared to the source
depletion region, is that the reverse bias of the gate and the
drain, VDG (=VGS+VDS), is higher than the bias between the
gate and the source, VGS.
(a) VGS Gate-Source Voltage is Not Supplied
(b) VGS (Gate-Source Voltage) is Supplied
Figure 2.
(a) VGS (Gate-Source Voltage) is Not Supplied
Structure of a Depletion Type MOSFET and
its Operation
(a) VGS (Gate-Source Voltage) is Not Supplied
(b) VGS (Gate-Source Voltage) is Supplied
Figure 1.
Structure of a JFET and its Operation
1.2. Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect
Transistors (MOSFETs)
The two types of MOSFETs are depletion type and
enhancement type, and each has a N/P–channel type. The
depletion type is normally on and operates as a JFET (refer
to Figure 2). The enhancement type is normally off, which
means that the drain-to-source current increases as the
voltage at the gate increases. No current flows when no
voltage is supplied at the gate (refer to Figure 3).
(b) VGS (Gate-Source Voltage) is Supplied
Figure 3.
© 2000 Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation
Rev. 1.0.5 • 9/4/13
Structure of a Enhancement Type MOSFET
and its Operation
2. Structure of a MOSFET
2.1. Lateral Channel Design
The drain, gate, and source terminals are placed on the
surface of a silicon wafer. This is suitable for integration,
but not for obtaining high power ratings because the
distance between source and drain must be large to obtain
better voltage blocking capability. The drain-to-source
current is inversely proportional to the length.
2.2. Vertical Channel Design
The drain and source are placed on the opposite sides of a
wafer. This is suitable for a power device, as more space can
be used as source. As the length between the source and
drain is reduced, it is possible to increase the drain-to-source
current rating and increase the voltage blocking capability
by growing the epitaxial layer (drain drift region).
The VMOSFET Design: the first to be commercialized,
this design was has a V-groove at the gate region, as
shown in Figure 4 (a). Due to stability problems in
manufacturing and a high electric field at the tip of the
V-groove, VMOSFETs were replaced by DMOSFETs.
The DMOSFET Design: has a double-diffusion
structure with a P-base region and a N+ source region,
as shown in Figure 4 (b). It is the most commercially
successful design.
The UMOSFET Design: As shown in Figure 4 (c), this
design has a U-groove at the gate region. Higher
channel density reduces the on-resistance as compared
designs with the trench etching process were
commercialized in the 90’s.
(a) VMOSFET Vertical
(b) DMOSFET Vertical
(c) UMOSFET Vertical
Figure 4.
© 2000 Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation
Rev. 1.0.5 • 9/4/13
Vertical Channel Structure
3. Characteristics of a MOSFET
The N+ source region and the P-type body region must be
shorted by metallization to prevent the parasitic BJT from
turning on.
3.1. Advantages
High Input Impedance — VoltageControlled Device — Easy to Drive
To maintain the on-state, a base drive current 1/5th or 1/10th
of collector current is required for the current-controlled
device (BJT). A larger reverse base drive current is needed
for the high-speed turn-off of the current-controlled BJT.
Due to these characteristics, base drive circuit design
becomes complicated and expensive. On the other hand, a
voltage-controlled MOSFET is a switching device driven by
a channel at the semiconductor’s surface due to the field
effect produced by the voltage applied to the gate electrode,
which is isolated from the semiconductor surface. Because
the required gate current during switching transient, as well
as the on and off states, is small; the drive circuit design is
simpler and less expensive.
If the VDS rate of increase is large in the high speed turn-off
state, there is a voltage drop between the base and the
emitter, which causes the BJT to turn on. This is prevented
by increasing the doping density of the P- body region,
which is at the bottom of the N+ source region, and by
lowering the MOSFETs switching speed, by designing the
circuit so that the gate resistance is large. Due to the source
region being short, another parasitic component, the diode,
is formed. This is used in half- and full-bridge converters.
UniPolar Device — Majority Carrier Device
— Fast Switching Speed
As there are no delays due to storage and recombination of
the minority carrier, as in the BJT, the switching speed is
faster than the BJT by orders of magnitude. Therefore, it has
an advantage in a high-frequency operation circuit where
switching power loss is prevalent.
Wide Safe Operating Area (SOA)
It has a wider SOA than the BJT because high voltage and
current can be applied simultaneously for a short duration.
This eliminates destructive device failure due to second
Figure 5.
3.1.1. Forward-Voltage Drop with Positive
Temperature Coefficient — easy to use in
When the temperature increases, forward-voltage drop also
increases. This causes the current to flow equally through
each device when they are in parallel. Hence, the MOSFET
is easier to use in parallel than the BJT, which has a forwardvoltage drop with a negative temperature coefficient.
3.4. Output Characteristics
ID characteristics are due to VDS in many VGS conditions
(refer to Figure 6).
 It is divided into the ohmic region, the saturation
(=active) region, and the cut-off region.
3.2. Disadvantage
Table 1.
In high breakdown voltage devices over 200 V, the
conduction loss of a MOSFET is larger than that of a BJT,
which has the same voltage and current rating due to the onstate voltage drop.
3.3. Basic Characteristic
Vertically oriented four-layer structure (N+ P N– N+)
Parasitic BJT exists between the source and the drain.
The P-type body region becomes base, the N+ source region
becomes an emitter and the N-type drain region becomes the
collector (refer to Figure 5). The breakdown voltage
decreases from BVCBO to BVCEO, which is 50 ~ 60% of
BVCBO when the parasitic BJT is turned on. In this state, if a
drain voltage higher than BVCEO is supplied, the device falls
into an avalanche breakdown state. If the drain current is not
limited externally, it is destroyed by the second breakdown.
© 2000 Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation
Rev. 1.0.5 • 9/4/13
MOSFET Vertical Structure Showing
Parasitic BJT and Diode
Output Characteristic Regions
A constant resistance region. If the drain-to-source
voltage is zero, the drain current also becomes zero
regardless of gate-to-source voltage. This region is
at the left side of the VGS – VGS(th) = VDS boundary
line (VGS – VGS(th) > VDS > 0). Even if the drain
current is very large, in this region the power
dissipation is maintained by minimizing VDS(on).
A constant-current region. It is at the right side of
the VGS – VGS(th) = VDS boundary line. Here, the
drain current differs by the gate-to-source voltage,
and not by the drain-to-source voltage. Hence, the
drain current is called saturated.
Called the cut-off region because the gate-to-source
voltage is lower than the VGS(th) (threshold voltage).
ε OX : dielectric constant of the silicon dioxide;
t OX : thickness of the gate oxide;
Figure 6.
W: channel width; and
L: channel length.
A parabolic transfer curve exists in a logic-level device
according to Equation 1. In a power MOSFET, this is true
only in the low ID of the transfer curve and the other areas
show linearity. This is because the mobility of the carrier is
not constant, but decreases due to the increase of the electric
field along with the increase of ID at the inverse layer.
Output Characteristics
Transfer Characteristics
iD characteristics due to VGS in the active region (refer to
Figure 7).
ID equation due to VGS:
i D = K ( v GS − VGS ( th ) ) 2
K = μ n C OX
μ n : majority-carrier mobility;
COX : gate oxide capacitance per unit area;
VGS( th )
Figure 7.
Transfer Curve
COX = ε OX t OX ;
© 2000 Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation
Rev. 1.0.5 • 9/4/13
4. Characteristics of MOSFETs in ON and OFF STATE
that have been dragged by the positive charge of the holes
from the N+ source. If the supplied voltage keeps increasing,
the density of the free holes of the body and the free
electrons of the interface becomes equal. At this point, the
free electron layer is called an inversion layer. The inversion
layer enables the current flow by becoming the conductive
pass (=channel) of the MOSFETs drain and source.
4.1. OFF State
4.1.1. BVDSS
This is the maximum drain-to-source voltage the MOSFET
can endure without the avalanche breakdown of the bodydrain P-N junction in off state (where the gate and source
are shorted). The measurement conditions are VGS = 0 V, ID
= 250 μA, and the drift region’s (N– epitaxy) length is
determined by the BVDSS. Avalanche, reach-through,
punch-through, Zener, and dielectric breakdowns are the
factors that drive breakdown. Three of these factors are
described below:
Threshold Voltage:
The gate-to-source voltage, which forms the inverse layer, is
called VGS(th) (=threshold voltage).
Avalanche Breakdown:
The mobile carriers’ sudden avalanche breakdown caused
by the increasing electric field in the depletion region of the
body-drain P-N junction up to a critical value. It is the main
factor among others that drives breakdown.
Reach-Through Breakdown:
A special case of avalanche breakdown occurring when the
depletion region of the N– epitaxy contacts the N+ substrate.
Punch-Through Breakdown:
(a) Formation of Depletion Region
An avalanche breakdown occurring when the depletion
region of the body-drain junction contacts the N+
source region.
4.1.2. IDSS
The drain-to-source leakage current when it is an off state
where the gate is being shorted with the source. The
increase in IDSS, which is sensitive to temperature, is large
with the increase in temperature, while the increase in
BVDSS is very little.
Free electrons
4.2. Turn-On Transient
(b) Formation of Inversion Layer
Process of Channel Formation
Formation of the depletion region:
When a small positive gate-to-source voltage is supplied to
the gate electrode (refer to Figure 8 (a)).
A positive charge induced in the gate electrode inducts the
same amount of negative charge at the oxide – silicon
interface (P–-body region, which is underneath the gate
oxide). The holes are pushed into the semiconductor bulk by
an electric field and the depletion region is formed by the
acceptors with a negative charge.
Formation of the inversion layer:
(c) Formation of Inversion Layer
As the positive gate-to-source voltage increases (refer to
Figure 8 (b) and Figure 8 (c)), the depletion region becomes
wider towards the body and begins to drag the free electrons
to the interface. These free electrons are created by thermal
ionization. The free holes, created with free electrons, are
pushed into the semiconductor bulk. The holes that have not
been pushed into the bulk are neutralized by the electrons
© 2000 Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation
Rev. 1.0.5 • 9/4/13
Figure 8.
Process of Channel Formation
To understand the characteristics, shown in Figure 9, note
the voltage drop at VCS(x) due to ohmic resistance when ID
is flowing at the inverse layer. VCS(x) is the channel-tosource voltage from the source at a distance of x. This
voltage is equal to the VGS–Vox(x) at all x points. Vox(x) is
the gate-to-body voltage crossing the gate oxide from the
source at a distance of x and it has the maximum value at
VDS at x=L (the drain end of the channel). As shown in
Figure 9(a), when low voltage VDD=VDD1 is supplied, low
ID(=ID1), which has almost no voltage drop of VCS(x), flows.
As Vox(0)~Vox(L) is constant, the thickness of the inversion
layer remains uniform. As higher VDD is supplied, ID
increases, the voltage drop of VCS(x) occurs, and the value
of Vox(x) decreases. These reduce the thickness of the
inversion layer starting from x=L. Because of this, the
resistance increases and the graph of ID starts to become flat,
as opposed to increasing with the increment of VDD. When
Vox(L)=VGS–VDS=VGS(th), as ID increases, the inversion layer
at x=L doesn’t disappear due to the high electric field
(J=σE) formed by the reduction in thickness, and maintains
the minimum thickness. The high electric field not only
maintains the minimum thickness of the inversion layer, it
also saturates the velocity of the charge carrier at
4.3. ON State
Drain current (ID) changes due to the increase in drain-tosource voltage (VDD) (VGS is constant). ID starts to flow
when the channel has formed and VDD is supplied. When the
VGS is a constant value and the VDD is increased, the ID also
increases linearly. As shown in the MOSFET output
characteristics graph, when the real VDD goes over a certain
level, the rate of increase in ID decreases slowly. Eventually,
it becomes a constant value independent of VDD and
becomes dependent on VGS.
The velocity of the charge carrier increases with the increase
in the electric field initially and, at a certain point, is
saturated. Silicon starts saturating when the electric field
reaches 1.5x104[V/cm] and the drift velocity of the electron
is 8x106[cm/s]. At this point, the device goes into the active
region. When a higher VDD is supplied, as shown in Figure
9(b), the electric field at x=L increases more and the
channel region that maintained the minimum thickness
expands towards the source. VDS becomes VDS>VGS–VGS(th),
due to the increase of VDD, and ID is kept constant.
(a) Spatially Uniform
4.4. Turn-off Transient
The reverse process of the turn-on transient described
above is the turn-off transient.
(b) Spatially Non-Uniform
Figure 9.
Inversion Layer Thickness Changes due to
the Increase of the Drain-to-Source Voltage (VDD) where
VDD1 < VGS – VGS(th), VDD2 > VGS – VGS(th),
ID2 (Saturation Current) > ID1
© 2000 Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation
Rev. 1.0.5 • 9/4/13
5. User’s Manual
5.1. Characteristics of Capacitance
The three types of parasitic capacitance are:
 Input capacitance:
Ciss = Cgd + Cgs
 Output capacitance:
Coss = Cgd + Cds
 Reverse transfer capacitance:
Crss = Cgd
The following figures show the parasitic capacitance.
ε ox = the dielectric constant of the gate oxide;
tox = the gate oxide thickness;
COX = gate-oxide capacitance per unit area; and
AN +O = the area of overlap of the gate electrode over
the N + emitter.
Figure 10.
CP is the capacitance between the gate and p-body. It is
affected by the gate, the drain voltage, and the channel
length. The CP is the only component that is influenced by
the change of the drain voltage (VDS) among other Cgs
components. When VDS increases, the depletion region
expands to the P-body and decreases the value of CP. Even
if the VDS increases up to breakdown voltage, there is almost
no change in the value of CP, as the depletion region doesn’t
exceed 10% of the P-body. Hence, the change of Cgs due to
VDS is very small.
Vertical Structure, Parasitic Capacitance
5.1.2. Cgd: Capacitance between Gate and Drain
This is influenced by the voltage of the gate and the drain.
When there are variations in VDS, the area under Cgd (n–drift region meeting with the gate oxide) is changed, and the
value of the capacitance is affected. As shown in Equation
(2), when VDS>>ϕB, the capacitance decreases as VDS
increases with the relation of C gd ∝ ( 1 − k V DS ) .
Figure 11.
C gd ( per unit
Equivalent Circuit, Parasitic Capacitance
area )
= C OX ( 1 −
2 W d ( epi .)
CGS: Capacitance between Gate and Source
X = the length between adjoining cells;
C gs = CO + C N + + C P
C OX = gate-oxide capacitance per unit area;
CO is the capacitance between the gate and source metal:
CO =
W d ( epi .) = the width of the depletion region in the
ε I AO
epitaxial layer(= N- drift region); and
Wd ( epi.) =
ε I = the dielectric constant of the intervening
t O = the thickness of the intervening insulator; and
Frequency Response of Power MOSFET
The frequency response of the power MOSFET is limited
by the charging and discharging of the input capacitance. If
the Cgs and Cgd, which determine the input capacitance,
become smaller; it is possible to work in high frequency. As
the input capacitance is unrelated to the temperature, the
MOSFET’s switching speed is unrelated to the temperature.
AO = the area of the overlap between the source and
gate electrode.
CN+ is the capacitance between the gate and the N+ source
diffusion region:
ε ox AN
t ox
As Cgd increases (1+gfsRL(load resistance)) times due to the
Miller effect, it prominently decreases the frequency
CN+ =
2 k s ε o ( V DS + φ B )
q CB
= C OX AN + O
© 2000 Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation
Rev. 1.0.5 • 9/4/13
Cds: Capacitance between Drain and Source
The capacitance varies due to the variation of the Cds
thickness, which is the junction thickness of the P-body and
the N– drift region, with the change of VDS:
C ds( per unit
area )
q ks ε o CB
2 ( V DS + φ B )
q = elementary electronic charge;
( = 1.9 × 10 −19 [ C ]) k s = silicon dielectric constant;
(a) t0 ~ t1 at the Diode-Clamped Inductive Load Circuit
ε o = the permeability of free space
( 8.86 × 10 −14 [ F cm ]) ;
C B = epitaxial layer background concentration
[ atoms cm 3 ] ;
V DS = drain-to-source voltage; and
φ B = diode potential.
(b) t1 ~ t2 at the Diode-Clamped Inductive Load
As shown in the equation above, VDS>>ϕB Cds decreases as
VDS increases with the relationship of C ds ∝ 1
V DS .
5.2. Characteristics of the Gate Charge
It is the amount of charge required during MOSFET turn-on
or turn-off transient.
The types of charges are:
Total Gate Charge: Qg (The amount of charge
t0 ~ t4)
 Gate-Source Charge: Qgs (The amount of charge
during t0 ~ t2)
 Gate-Drain (Miller) Charge: Qgd (The amount of
charge during t2 ~ t3)
Figure 12 shows the gate-source voltage, gate-source
current, drain-source voltage, and drain-source current
during turn-on. They are divided into four sections to
show the equivalent circuits at the diode-clamped
inductive load circuit.
(c) t2 ~ t3 at the Diode-Clamped Inductive Load Circuit
v GS ( t )
v DS ( t )
(d) t3 at the Diode-Clamped Inductive Load Circuit
Figure 13. Equivalent Circuits of the MOSFET with
Turn-on Divided into 4 Periods at the Diode-clamped
Inductive Load Circuit
t 0 ~ t1
iD ( t )
VGS ( th )
iG ( t )
As IG charges Cgs and Cgd, VGS increases from 0 V up to
VGS(th). The graph of increasing VGS(t) seems to be
increasing linearly, but it is, in fact, an exponential curve
having a time constant of τ1 = RG(Cgs + Cgd1). As shown in
V DS ( on )
Figure 12.
VGS(t), IG(t), VDS(t), ID(t) When Turned On
© 2000 Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation
Rev. 1.0.5 • 9/4/13
t 3 ~ t4
Figure 13(a), VDS is still equal to VDD and ID is zero. The
MOSFET is still in the turn-off state.
t3 ~ t4 is the period where it operates in an ohmic region.
The VGS increases up to VGG with a time constant of τ2 =
RG(Cgs + Cgd2).
t 1 ~ t2
VGS increases exponentially, passing VGS(th), and, as VGS
continues to increase, ID begins to increase and reaches full
load current (IO). So Va varies to IO condition in t2. When ID
is smaller than IO and when it is in a state where the DF is
being conducted, VDS maintains the VDD. Figure 14 shows
the voltage a little less than VDD. This is caused by the
voltage drop due to the existing inductance in the line.
5.3. Drain-Source On Resistance (RDS(on))
Figure 14 shows the VGS(t) measuring the Va variation in
accordance with iD conditions in turn-on state.
Figure 16. The Vertical Structure of a MOSFET
Showing Internal Resistance
Figure 14.
t 2 ~ t3
In a MOSFET, RDS(on) is the total resistance between the
source and the drain during the on state. It is an important
parameter, determining maximum current rating and loss.
To reduce RDS(on), the integrity of the chip and trench
technique are used. This can be stated as in Equation (5):
VGS(t) in Accordance with ID Conditions
VGS is a constant value in accordance with the transfer
characteristics as it is in an active region where ID is the full
load current (IO). So, IG can only flow through Cgd and is
obtained by Equation (3).
V − Va
i G = GG
RDS(on) = RN+ + RCH + RA + Rj + RD + RS
The resistance of the source region with N+
diffusion. It only uses a small portion of resistance
compared to other components that form RDS(on). It
can be ignored in high-voltage power MOSFETs.
The resistance of the channel region, which is the
dominant RDS(on) factor in low-voltage MOSFETs.
This resistance can be varied by the ratio of the
channel’s width to the length, the thickness of the
gate oxide, and the gate drive voltage.
As the gate drive voltage is supplied, charges start
to accumulate in N– epi surface (the plate under
Cgd) and forms a current path between the channel
and the JFET region. The resistance of this
accumulation region is RA. The resistance varies by
the charge in the accumulation layer and the
mobility of the free carriers at the surface. If the
gate electrode is reduced, its effect is the same as
reducing the length of the accumulation layer, so
the value of RA is reduced while RJ increases.
The N– epi region between the P-bodies is called
the JFET region because the P-body region acts
like the gate region of a JFET. The resistance of
this region is RJ.
The resistance occurring from right below the Pbody to the top of the substrate is RD and is the
most important factor in high-voltage MOSFETs.
VDS can be configured as the following ratios:
dv DG dv DS
V − Va
= G = GG
C gd
RG C gd
This is the region where the MOSFET is still operating in
the active region and, as the VDS decreases, it gets closer to
the ohmic region. When VDD increases, t2 ~ t3 (flat region of
VGS) also increase.
Figure 15 graphs VGS(t) and shows the variation of t2 ~ t3
(flat region of VGS) in accordance with the VDD condition.
At t3, VDS becomes VDS(on)=IO·RDS(on) and the transient is
completed. The MOSFET is placed at the boundary of
entering the ohmic region from the active region.
Figure 15.
VGS(t) in Accordance with the VDD Condition
© 2000 Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation
Rev. 1.0.5 • 9/4/13
The resistance of the substrate region. It can be
ignored in high-voltage MOSFETs. In low-voltage
MOSFETs, where the breakdown voltage is below
50 V, it can have a large effect on RDS(on).
Additional resistances can arise from non-ideal contact
between the source/drain metal and the N+ semiconductor
regions, as well as from the leads used to connect the device
to the package.
5.5. Transconductance (gfs)
RDS(on) increases with the temperature (positive temperature
coefficient) because the mobility of the hole and electron
decreases as the temperature rises. The RDS(on), at a given
temperature of a P/N-channel power MOSFET can be
estimated with the following equation.
VDS should be set so that the device can be activated in the
saturation region. VGS should be supplied so that the IDS
becomes half of the maximum current rating. gfs varies
depending on the channel width/length and the gate oxide
thickness. As shown in Figure 17, after VGS(th) is applied, gfs
increases dramatically with the increase in the drain current
and becomes a constant after drain current reaches a certain
point (at higher values of drain current). If gfs is high enough,
high current handling capability can be gained from the low
gate drive voltage. High-frequency response is also possible.
R DS ( on ) ( T ) = R DS ( on ) ( 25℃ ) (
T 2.3
Transconductance is the gain in the MOSFET, expressed in
Equation (7). It represents the change in drain current by the
change in the gate-source bias voltage:
 Δ I DS 
g fs = 
where T = absolute temperature.
This is an important characteristic of device stability and
paralleling. It doesn’t need any external circuit assistance to
have good current sharing when RDS(on) increases with the
temperature and is connected in parallel.
5.4. Threshold Voltage (VGS(th))
This is the minimum gate bias that enables the formation of
the channel between the source and the drain. The drain
current increases in proportion to (VGS–VGS(th))2 in the
saturation region.
High VGS(th)
Figure 17.
It is difficult to design gate drive circuitry for the power
MOSFET because a high gate bias voltage is needed to
turn it on.
Low VGS(th)
When the VGS(th) of the N-channel power MOSFET
becomes negative due to the existence of charges in the
gate oxide, it shows the characteristics of a normally on
state, where the conductive channel exists even in a zerogate bias voltage. Even if VGS(th) is positive and the value
is very small, there could be a turn-on either by the noise
signal of the gate terminal or by the increasing gate
voltage during high-speed switching.
g fs ( T ) = g fs ( 25℃ ) (
T − 2 .3
where T is absolute temperature.
5.6. Drain-Source Breakdown Voltage
(BVDS Breakdown Voltage Temperature
Coefficient (∆BV/∆TJ)
VGS(th) can be controlled by the gate oxide thickness.
Normally, gate oxide is kept thick in a high-voltage device
so the VGS(th) is set at 2~4 V. Gate oxide is kept thin in a
low-voltage device (logic level) so VGS(th) is 1~2 V.
Additionally, VGS(th) can be controlled by background
doping (the density of P-body for the N-channel power
MOSFET). It increases in proportion to the square root of
the background doping.
BVDSS is the maximum drain-to-source voltage where the
MOSFET can endure without the avalanche breakdown of
the body-drain pn junction in off state (where the gate and
source are shorted). The measurement conditions are
VGS=0 V, ID=250 μA, and the length of the drift region (N–
epitaxy) is determined by the BVDSS. Avalanche, reachthrough, punch-through, Zener, and dielectric breakdowns
are the factors that drive breakdown.
Temperature Characteristic
VGS(th) decreases as the temperature increases. The rate of
decrease can be varied by the gate oxide thickness and
background doping level. In other words, the decrease rate
increases when the gate oxide becomes thicker and the
background doping level increases.
© 2000 Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation
Rev. 1.0.5 • 9/4/13
Transfer Curve &gfs
Temperature Characteristic
gfs decreases as the temperature increases due to the
reduction of mobility. Equation (8) is similar to the RDS(on)
and temperature relationship; it is possible to know the gfs
changes by the changes in temperature:
Temperature Characteristic
As junction temperature increases, it does so linearly.
Whenever it goes up 100°C, 10% of BVDSS at 25°C
increases (refer to the breakdown voltage temperature
coefficient (ΔBV/ΔTJ) and Figure 18 breakdown voltage vs.
5.8. Gate-to-Source Voltage (VGS)
VGS represents the maximum operating gate-to-source
voltage. The negative voltage handling capability enables
the enhancement of the turn-off speed by providing reverse
bias to the gate and the source.
5.9. Gate-Source Leakage, Forward / Reverse
IGSS is measured by providing the maximum operating gateto-source voltage (VGS) between the gate and the source.
Forward or reverse direction is determined by the polarity of
the VGS. IGSS is dependent on the quality of the gate oxide
and device size.
5.10. Switching Characteristics (td(on), tr, td(off), tf)
Figure 18.
Power MOSFETs have good switching characteristics as
there is no storage delay caused by the minority carrier and
no variation caused by the temperature. Figure 19 shows the
switching sequence divided into sections.
Breakdown Voltage vs. Temperature
5.7. Drain-to-Source Leakage Current (IDSS)
IDSS can be measured by providing the maximum drain-tosource voltage and 80% of the voltage (TC=125°C) in the
off state, where the gate is shorted to the source. IDSS is more
sensitive to the temperature than BVDSS and it has a positive
temperature coefficient.
Figure 19.
Table 2.
Resistive Switching Waveforms
Switching Characteristics
Turn-On Delay (td(on)):
This is the time for the gate voltage, VGS, to reach the threshold voltage VGS(th). The input
capacitance during this period is Cgs+Cgd. This means that this period is the charging period
to bring up the capacitance to the threshold voltage.
Rise Time (tr):
It is the period after the VGS reaches VGS(th) to complete the transient. It can be divided into
two regions. One is the period where the drain current starts from zero (increasing with the
gate voltage in accordance with the transfer characteristics) and reaching the load current.
The other region is when the drain voltage starts to drop and reaches the on-state voltage
drop. As shown in the gate charge characteristics graph, the VGS maintains a constant value
as the drain current is constant in this region where the voltage decreases. During the rise
time, as both the high voltage and the high current exist in the device, high power
dissipation occurs. The rise time should be reduced by reducing the gate series resistance
and the drain-gate capacitance (Cgd). After this, the gate voltage continues to increase up to
the supplied voltage level; but, as the drain voltage and the current are already in steady
state, they are not affected during this region.
Turn-Off Delay (td(off)):
The gate voltage operates in the supplied voltage level during On state and, when the turnoff transient starts, it starts to decrease. The td(off) is the time for the gate voltage to reach the
point where it is required to make the drain current become saturated at the value of load
current. During this time, there are no changes to the drain voltage and the current.
Fall Time (tf):
Fall time is the time where the gate voltage reaches the threshold voltage after td(off). It is
divided into the region where the drain voltage reaches the supply voltage from On-state
voltage and the region where the drain current reaches zero from the load current. As there
is a lot of power dissipation in the tr region during turn-on state, the power dissipation
occurs in the tf region during turn-off state. Hence, tf must be reduced as much as possible.
After this, the gate voltage continues to decrease until it reaches zero. As the drain voltage
and the current are already in steady state, they are not affected during this region.
© 2000 Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation
Rev. 1.0.5 • 9/4/13
5.11. Single–Pulsed Avalanche Energy
Unclamped Inductive Switching (EAS)
E AS =
5.11.1. MOSFET Turn-Off (Inductive Load Circuit)
While in on state (supplying positive voltage exceeding the
threshold voltage in N-channel device), the electrons flow
into the drain from the source through the inversion layer
(=channel) of the body surface and form a current flow from
the drain to the source. If it is an inductive load, this current
increases linearly. To turn off the MOSFET, the gate
voltage must be removed or a reverse voltage applied so that
it eliminates the inversion layer of the body surface. Once
the charge at the inversion layer begins to dissipate and the
channel current (drain current) begins to reduce, the
inductive load increases the drain voltage so that it
maintains the drain current. When the drain voltage
increases, the drain current is divided into the channel
current and the displacement current. Displacement current
is the current generated as the depletion region is developed
at the drain-body diode and it is proportional to dvDS/dt (the
ratio of drain voltage rise by the time). The dvDS/dt is
limited by how fast the gate is discharged and by how fast
the drain-body depletion region is charged. The charge of
the drain-body depletion region is determined by Cds and the
magnitude of the drain current. When the drain voltage
increases and cannot be clamped by an external circuit UIS
(Unclampled Inductive Switching), the drain-body diode
starts to build the current carriers through avalanche
multiplication and the device falls into a Sustaining Mode.
While in Sustaining Mode, all the drain current (avalanche
current) goes through the drain-body diode and is controlled
by the (channel current equals to zero) inductor load. If the
current (leakage current, displacement current (dvDS/dt
current), and avalanche current) flowing at the body region
underneath the source is large enough; the parasitic bipolar
transistor becomes active and can result in device failure.
t AV
= L AS
5.11.2. Power MOSFET Failure Characteristics
during Inductive Turn-Off
It has the same electrical characteristics as the second
breakdown of the bipolar transistor. It is independent from
dvDS/dt. By maintaining the gate turn-off voltage constantly
and changing the magnitude of the external gate resistance,
the magnitude of the gate turn-off current changes. This
changes the dVDS/dt. If dVDS/dt current causes a device
failure, the voltage that can lead to a second breakdown
should be decreased with an increase in dVDS/dt. When
measuring the second breakdown voltage while changing
the external gate resistance (changing dVDS/dt), the highest
voltage should be measured at the highest dVDS/dt
(according to “Turn-Off Failure of Power MOSFETs,” by
David L. Blackburn). The voltage at which failure occurs
increases with temperature. Critical current reduces as
temperature increases. Critical current represents the
maximum value of the drain current that can safely turn off
the device in an unclamped mode. At currents exceeding
this, a second breakdown occurs. It is not related to the
magnitude of the load inductance. The avalanche current
from the drain-body diode activates the parasitic bipolar
transistor. This causes the MOSFET to fail.
5.12. Repetitive Avalanche Rating (EAR, IAR)
It represents avalanche energy for each pulse under
repetitive conditions.
Figure 20 shows the drain voltage and the current when a
single pulse (width: tP) is supplied at the unclamped
inductive load circuit.
Figure 20.
It represents the maximum avalanche current and is the
same as the ID rating of the device.
Unclamped Inductive Switching Waveforms
ID(t) can be changed by the inductor load size, supply
voltage (VDD), and the gate pulse width (tP). The shaded area
of the avalanche region (tAV) shows the dissipation energy
(EAS). Calculate EAS and tAV with Equation (9):
© 2000 Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation
Rev. 1.0.5 • 9/4/13
through Rb. When the voltage across the Rb goes over Vbe
(emitter-base forward bias voltage where the parasitic
bipolar transistor is turned on, approximately 0.7 V), the
parasitic bipolar transistor is turned on. When the parasitic
bipolar transistor is turned on, the breakdown voltage of the
device is reduced from BVCBO to BVCEO, which is 50~60%
of BVCBO. If a drain voltage larger than BVCEO is supplied,
the device falls into an avalanche breakdown. If this drain
current is not limited externally, the device can be destroyed
by the second breakdown. The following equation shows
the dv/dt capability in this mode:
5.13. Drain-to-Source dv/dt Ratings
When high dv/dt is supplied at the drain, there is a
possibility of current conduction in the power MOSFET. In
some cases, this can destroy the device. Below are some
instances of device turn-on due to dv/dt.
5.13.1. Static dv/dt
Figure 21.
False Turn-on
In off state, a sudden increase in drain voltage changes the
voltage across the parasitic capacitance between the drain
and the gate and develops displacement current (a) of Cdv/
dt. If voltage exceeding VGS(th) develops between the gate
and source due to the displacement current and the gate-tosource impedance (Zgs), it triggers a false turn-on of the
MOSFET. The parasitic capacitance between the drain and
gate can be Cgd or larger than Cgd, depending on the circuit
layout. Zgs is the impedance of the drive circuit and can be
presented as a series of R, L battery components. Due to the
false turn-on, the device falls into a current-conduction state
and, in severe cases, high power dissipation develops in the
device and results in destructive failure. Equation (10)
shows the voltage drop VGS across Zgs, and dv/dt capability
in this mode:
VGS ( th )
[ ]=
Z gs C gd
Equation (11) reveals that the dv/dt capability is determined
by the internal device structure. For high-dv/dt capability,
the Rb value must be small. This is achieved by increasing
the doping level of the P-body region and reducing the
length of the N+ emitter as much as possible. Rb is also
affected by the drain voltage. As the drain voltage increases,
the depletion layer expands and enlarges the Rb value. When
the temperature rises, Rb is increased by the reduction of
mobility. As the Vbe decreases, the possibility of turn-on of
the parasitic transistor increases. As the base and the emitter
are shorted by the source contact, the Rb value is very small.
This occurs only if the dv/dt is enormously large.
Equivalent Circuit of a N-Channel MOSFET
V GS = Z gs C gd [
V be
Rb C db
In a false turn-on, the dv/dt can be controlled externally. In a
parasitic transistor’s turn-on, the dv/dt is determined by
device design. This is the difference between these modes.
5.13.2. Dynamic dv/dt
If there is a sudden current interruption, such as a clamped
inductive turn-off in high-speed switching, the device is
destroyed by concurrent stresses caused by high drain
current, high drain-source voltage, and displacement current
at the parasitic capacitance.
5.13.3. Diode Recovery dv/dt
This is the main cause of dv/dt failure in specific
applications, such as circuits using a body drain diode. The
datasheet gives the maximum value for dv/dt. Exceeding
this value causes device failure due to excessive diode
recovery dv/dt. Figure 22 shows a motor control circuit
application with a diode recovery dv/dt problem.
To increase dv/dt capability, a gate drive circuit with very
low impedance should be used and VGS(th) must be
increased. In a drive circuit with low impedance, the cost is
high and increasing the VGS(th) is associated with rise in
RDS(on). As VGS(th) has a negative temperature coefficient, the
possibility of a false turn-on increases as the temperature
rises. Typically, gate voltage doesn’t go over the threshold
voltage and the high device resistance limits the device
current. Device destruction due to false turn-on is rare.
Parasitic Transistor Turn-on
Figure 22.
In off state, a sudden increase in drain voltage changes the
voltage across Cdb, and it develops current (b) flowing
© 2000 Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation
Rev. 1.0.5 • 9/4/13
Motor Control Circuit
First Q1 and Q4 are conducted and put in a state where
current I1 passes. If Q1 is turned off to control the speed of
the motor, the current flows through the parasitic diode
(freewheeling diode) of Q3 as I2. The parasitic diode of Q3
falls into a forward bias state and, due to the characteristic
of the diode, the minority charge begins to accumulate.
When Q1 is turned on, the current again becomes I1 and the
minority charge accumulated in the parasitic diode, Q3, is
removed by the diode reverse-recovery current (Figure 23
section a of IS). Once the minority charge is removed to a
certain level, the depletion region of the body drain diode
expands and makes more reverse-recovery current (Figure
23 section b of IS). If this turns on the parasitic bipolar
transistor, Q3 is destroyed. Figure 23 and Figure 24 show
the diode recovery dv/dt test circuit and waveforms. From
this test; dv/dt, VSD (diode forward voltage), trr (reverserecovery time), and Qrr (reverse-recovery charge) data can
be obtained. In the test, the VDD value must be less or equal
to the BVDSS. Typically, the VDD is set at 80% of BVDSS and
the pulse period of the driver VGS must be controlled so that
the IS can become the continuous drain current ID.
The value of di/dt and dv/dt becomes larger as RG is
reduced. trr can be obtained by measuring the part shown in
the wave of IS where the di/dt (measured from the point
where it is 50% of IFM above the ground to the point where
it is 75% of IRM below the ground) is 100 A/μs. Qrr can be
calculated as (IRM x trr)/2. dv/dt can be measured from the
point where it is between 10~90% of VDD with the di/dt
condition (measured from the point where it is 50% of IFM
above the ground to the point where it is 75% of IFM below
the ground). IS (continuous source current) and ISM (pulsed –
source current) represent the current rating of the sourcedrain diode, IS = ID (continuous drain current), and ISM = IDM
(drain current – pulsed).
5.14. Thermal Characteristics (TJ, RϴJC, RϴSA,
The power loss of the device turns into heat and increases
the junction temperature. This degrades device
characteristics and reduces its life span. It is very important
to lower the junction temperature by discharging heat from
the chip junction. The thermal impedance (ZϴJC(t)) is used
to monitor the above.
Thermal characteristics terminology:
Figure 23.
Junction Temperature (TJ)
Case Temperature (TC): Temperature at a point of the
package that has the semiconductor chip inside
Heat Sink Temperature (TS)
Ambient Temperature (TA): Temperature of the
surrounding environment of the operating device.
Junction-to-Case Thermal Resistance (RϴJC)
Case-to-Sink Thermal Resistance (RϴCS)
Sink-to-Ambient Thermal Resistance (RϴSA)
Diode Recovery dv/dt Test Circuit
Compoun ②
Heat Sink
Figure 25.
Figure 24.
Thermal Discharge Path at Chip Junction
Diode Reverse Recovery Waveforms
Figure 26.
© 2000 Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation
Rev. 1.0.5 • 9/4/13
Circuit Based on Thermal Resistance
As shown in Figure 25, the heat produced at the chip
junction normally discharges over 80% in the direction of
① and about 20% in the direction of ②③④. The path of
the thermal discharge is the same as the movement of the
current and is represented in Figure 26 after considering
thermal resistance. This is true only for DC operation. Most
MOSFETs are used in switching operations with a fixed
duty factor. Thermal capacitance should be taken into
consideration, along with thermal resistance. The thermal
resistance from the chip junction to the ambient is RθJA
(junction-to-ambient thermal resistance) and the equivalent
circuit can be expressed as Equation (12).
Rθ J A = Rθ JC + Rθ CS + R θ S A
Figure 27.
Transient Thermal Response Curve
Junction-to-Case Thermal Resistance (RϴJC)
RϴJC is the internal thermal resistance from the chip junction
to the package case. Once the size of the die is decided, this
thermal resistance of pure package is only determined by the
package design and lead frame material. RθJC can be
measured under the condition of TC = 25°C and can be
written as Equation (13):
Rθ JC =
T J − TC
[℃ W ]
Figure 28. Resistance; Charge in Junction
Temperature due to Conduction Time
Condition TC=25°C means the infinite heat sink is mounted.
A single-pulse curve determines the thermal resistance for
repetitive power pulses having a constant duty factor (D), as
shown in equation (15).
Infinite heat sink means the case temperature of the package
is equal to the environment temperature. It is the heat sink,
which can realize TC = TA.
Case-to-Sink Thermal Resistance (RϴCS)
This is the thermal resistance from the package case to the
heat sink. It can vary due to the package and the mounting
method to the heat sink.
⋅ D + ( 1 − D )⋅ S θ
J C ( t ) (15)
Z θ J C(t )
Sink-to-Ambient Thermal Resistance (RϴSA)
is the thermal impedance for repetitive power
pulses with a duty factor of D;
This is the thermal resistance from the heat sink to the
ambient and it is determined by heatsink design.
S θ J C ( t ) is the thermal impedance for a single pulse;
5.14.1. Thermal Response Characteristics
Figure 27 shows the thermal response curve. As show in
Figure 27, the graph of the thermal response, shows the
change of junction-to-case thermal impedance (ZϴJC(t)) due
to the change of the square-wave pulse duration with a few
duty factor conditions. ZϴJC(t) determines the junction
temperature rise with the equation (14). (considering power
dissipation to be a constant value (PDM) during the
conduction period, it becomes saturated to the maximum
value of (RϴJC) as it reaches low frequency or DC operation
where the duty factor D=1. Figure 28 shows the junction
temperature rise with the increasing duty factor.
TJ max − TC = RθJC ⋅ PDM
J C(t ) =
ID is continuous drain current; and
IDM is drain current, pulsed.
As shown in Equation (16), the ID rating is determined by
the heat removal ability of the device. Figure 10 in the
datasheet, maximum drain current vs. case temperature,
shows increasing permissible ID as TC decreases.
I D ( TC ) =
T J max − TC
R DS ( on ) ( T J max ) ⋅ RθJC
RDS(on)(TJmax) is the maximum value of on-resistance in an
appropriate drain current condition (
⋅ I D in datasheet)
at TJmax. as maximum RDS(on) specified is at TC = 25°C.
© 2000 Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation
Rev. 1.0.5 • 9/4/13
RDS(on) (TJmax) could be analogized by the graph of onresistance vs. temperature;
RϴJC is maximum junction-to-case thermal resistance; and
TC is case temperature.
In real device applications where it is not feasible to
maintain the temperature at TC=25°C, the ID (60~70% of ID
at TC=25°C) at TC=100°C is a more usable specification.
5.14.2. Drain Current - Pulsed (IDM)
The drain current over continuous drain current rating
should not go over the maximum junction temperature. The
maximum upper limit is IDM. IDM is about four times the
value of ID, as shown in equation (17).
I DM = I D ( TC = 25[℃ ]) × 4
Figure 29.
Maximum Safe Operating Area
Repetitive rating: Pulse width limited by maximum junction
5.16.2. Boundaries
5.15. Total Power Dissipation (PD), Linear
Derating Factor
In Figure 29, the right line : maximum drain-source voltage
PD ( TC ) = I D 2 ( TC ) ⋅ R DS ( on ) ( T J max ) =
T J max − TC
Figure 29 shows the maximum safe operation area.
The horizontal line: DC is the maximum rated continuous
drain current at TC = 25°C. For MOSFETs, excluding
package limitations, maximum rated continuous drain
current can be determined by the RDS(on)(TJmax), as in
Equation (20).
Linear derating factor is calculated by:
5.16. Safe Operating Areas (SOA)
I D ( TC ) =
T J max − TC
R DS ( on ) ( T J max ) ⋅ RθJC
Single pulse is the maximum rated drain current, pulsed:
It defines the maximum value of the drain-source voltage
and drain current that guarantees safe operation when the
device is at the forward bias.
I DM = I D ( TC ) × 4
The upper limit with positive (+) slope
The boundary where the power can be limited by the drainto-source on resistance.
The upper limit with negative (–) slope
It is determined by the transient thermal impedance and the
maximum junction temperature.
As used herein:
Life support devices or systems are devices or systems
which, (a) are intended for surgical implant into the body, or
(b) support or sustain life, or (c) whose failure to perform
when properly used in accordance with instructions for use
provided in the labeling, can be reasonably expected to
result in significant injury to the user.
© 2000 Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation
Rev. 1.0.5 • 9/4/13
A critical component is any component of a life support
device or system whose failure to perform can be reasonably
expected to cause the failure of the life support device or
system, or to affect its safety or effectiveness.