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tunnel diode vs p-n junction diode-difference between tunnel diode and p-n junction diode

This page compares tunnel diode vs p-n junction diode and mentions difference between tunnel diode and p-n junction diode. Both the diodes are used as low power devices.


Tunnel diode p-n diode
Low noise device Moderate noise device
Preferred semiconductos used are Ge and GaAs Preferred semiconductors used are Ge and Si
Tunnelling current consists of majority carriers(i.e. electrons from n-side to p-side) Current consists of minority carriers (i.e. holes from p-side to n-side)
Doping levels at p and n sides are very high Doping is normal in both p and n sides
At a small value of reverse voltage a large current flows due to large overlap between conduction band and valance band. It is useful as frequency converter. leakage Current is extremely small upto certain reverse bias voltage. Increases abruptly to extreme high at breakdown voltage.
It has negative resistance characteristics. Hence it is useful for reflection amplifiers and oscillators. It does not have negative resistance and hence used as detector and RF mixers.
majority carrier (current) responds much faster to voltage changes. This is suitable for microwave applications. majority carrier (current) does not respond so fast to voltage changes. This is suitable for low frequency applications only.

Refer Tunnel Diode Basics and Applications for more information. Also refer Zener Diode as voltage regulator and Ordinary Diode Tutorial.

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