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What is the "forward bias" state of a diode?

1 Answer

In the context of a semiconductor diode, the "forward bias" state refers to the condition in which the diode is operating under a specific applied voltage that allows current to flow through it easily. In this state, the diode allows current to pass from its anode (the positive terminal) to its cathode (the negative terminal).

Semiconductor diodes are designed to conduct current primarily in one direction. When a positive voltage is applied to the anode and a negative voltage to the cathode (meaning the anode is at a higher potential than the cathode), the diode is in a forward-biased state. In this condition, the diode's internal electric field is reduced, which allows majority charge carriers (electrons in an N-type semiconductor or holes in a P-type semiconductor) to move towards the junction and cross it.

The process of crossing the junction involves overcoming a potential barrier known as the "built-in potential" or "barrier potential." Different types of diodes have different barrier potentials. For silicon diodes, the barrier potential is typically around 0.7 volts, and for Schottky diodes, it is even lower.

In summary, in the forward bias state, a diode allows current to flow easily from the anode to the cathode, and it is in a conducting state. Conversely, when the diode is in reverse bias (opposite voltage polarity), it acts as an insulator, preventing significant current flow.
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