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MOSFET Currents

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Sina Tootoonian, Jul 15, 2003.

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  1. Hello All,

    I have a basic question about Mosfets. Say I have two n-channel
    enhancement mosfets connected in series, but I'm biasing them
    seperately, and they're operating in saturation mode. Now let's assume
    I manage to get the Vgs quite close for both, but not exactly
    matching. My question is how is the current determined?
    the basic formula is:

    id = 0.5(Kn)(W/L)(Vgs-Vth)^2

    But I know that Id does depend on Vds as well, and that's how a
    Mosfet's output resistance is defined. This is my understanding of
    what should happen:

    0. By continuity, the total current flowing through both components
    has to be equal.
    1. One of the Mosfet's will be biased so that it's drawing more
    current than the other.
    2. The Mosfet that is drawing the higher current will have its Vds
    drop i.e. its rds drops
    3. The Mosfet that is drawing the lower current will have its Vds
    increase i.e. its rds increases, and in effect, the excess current
    gets shunted through its 'output resistance'.
    Is this correct?

    Ofcourse I understand that there is no real resistor there, but the
    way they teach us at school is to model the mosfet as an ideal
    component (no dependance on Vds) with a resistor, rds in parallel to

    Thanks for your time,

    Sina Tootoonian
  2. The above neglects the output resistance, a more complete formula is

    id = 0.5(Kn)(W/L)(Vgs-Vth)^2*(1 + lambda*vds)

    Best Regards,

    Kevin Aylward
    SuperSpice, a very affordable Mixed-Mode
    Windows Simulator with Schematic Capture,
    Waveform Display, FFT's and Filter Design.
  3. "Kevin wrote...
    An interesting question Sina.
    Further to the point, in the saturation region FETs are operating
    in a basically constant-current region where they are delivering
    the maximum drain current that they can, as a function of Vgs.
    (Dear reader, don't confused the FET saturated region with the BJT
    saturated region, they're like opposite ends of the spectrum!) As
    Kevin says, Id has a little voltage dependence, but it's typically
    very small, and is better described as a constant-current source.
    My attempts to measure the FET output resistance in this mode have
    usually been exercises in frustration - it's most simply described
    as infinity!

    So, with two constant current sources in series, the lower-current
    one will dominate. The other one will go out of saturation and
    into the linear mode with only a fraction of a volt to a few volts
    across it. The low-current FET will remain in saturation and most
    of the voltage drop will be across it.

    - Win
  4. Actually, its not usually that high for power mosfets. The old 2sk135
    are in the 100ohm region. actually answered the question. I never noticed it.

    One final point to Sina. The reason that two current sources driving
    each over function correctly in a typical amplifier is because there is
    negative feed back that controls these currents to force a set voltage
    on their common point.

    Kevin Aylward
    SuperSpice, a very affordable Mixed-Mode
    Windows Simulator with Schematic Capture,
    Waveform Display, FFT's and Filter Design.
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