Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thermal runaway in a BJT

We know that in a transistor , power is dissipated in the collector and hence it is made physically larger than the emitter and base region. As the power is dissipated , there is a chance for the collector base junction temperature to be raised. As the temperature at collector base junction increases, the reverse leakage current ICBO increases. This is because ICBO arises due to the flow of minority carriers which are thermally generated across reverse biased collector-base junction (reverse biased pn junction) . As the temperature increases, thermal generation increases, ICBO increases..

IC  = αIE + ICBO
 So, as ICBO increases,  Iincreases. Power dissipated =I2 * R

So, as collector current increases, power dissipated increases which in turn increases the collector base junction temperature. So the process is cumulative leading eventually to the destruction of the transistor.
Thermal runaway can be prevented by using a heat sink.


  1. What does icbo represent (its an abbreviated form of what)

    1. It represent the leakage current..

    2. It represent the leakage current..

    3. Icbo stands for:
      I = Current
      CB = from Collector terminal to Base terminal
      O = when the emitter terminal is Open

  2. How is thermal runaway in MOSFETs calculated?


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