In CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor) integrated circuits, a "buffer diode" is not a common term. It's possible that the term you are referring to is a "body diode" or a "parasitic diode," which is an inherent component in the CMOS structure. I'll explain the purpose of the "body diode."
In a CMOS integrated circuit, each MOSFET (Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistor) has a body diode connected between its source and drain terminals. The body diode is formed due to the nature of the P- and N-type regions present in a CMOS transistor.
The primary purpose of the body diode is to allow for the conduction of current in specific situations and provide protection against certain electrical events:
Reverse Bias Protection: When a voltage is applied in reverse bias across the drain and source terminals of a CMOS transistor (i.e., the drain voltage is lower than the source voltage), the body diode conducts current, providing a safe path for the reverse current. This protects the transistor from damage due to excessive reverse voltage.
ESD Protection: The body diode plays a role in protecting the CMOS transistor from Electrostatic Discharge (ESD). During an ESD event, the body diode can divert the damaging current away from the sensitive parts of the circuit, safeguarding the transistor.
Undesired Current Paths: In certain scenarios, such as during latch-up conditions (a type of parasitic behavior that can lead to circuit failure), the body diode can provide an unintended current path, which is generally undesirable. Circuit designers take special care to prevent and mitigate such latch-up conditions.
While the body diode serves important protective functions, it can also introduce some limitations in circuit design and performance. To overcome these limitations, additional circuit techniques and components, such as external diodes, are employed in more complex integrated circuits to optimize performance and reliability.