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A stack of drift- step-recovery diodes (DSRDs) can produce high-voltage pulses with a rise rate of the order of 1 kV/ns. Their building blocks, i.e., the DSRD dies, are designed and manufactured at Soreq Nuclear Research Center based on silicon epitaxial layers. A characterization circuit for DSRDs is presented. The circuit features a power MOSFET, which serves to pump the DSRD in the forward direction and then to pulse it in the reverse direction, and a bias voltage source to balance the forward pumping current with respect to the reverse discharge. Placing the DSRD in series between the MOSFET and the load results in temporal and polarity separation of the MOSFET and DSRD pulses at the load, thus allowing viewing of the net DSRD signal. High-voltage probes are employed to measure the MOSFET and load voltages. Based on this measurement, we formulate the voltage and current extraction of the circuit signals. A 1-ns 190-V epi-Si DSRD die was characterized by this circuit. We show that the DSRD pulses when its reverse discharge is equal to the forward charge, as expected. The DSRD switching loss was measured. An accurate 98% energy balance, which includes the input and output energies with respect to the MOSFET and DSRD switching losses, was obtained. The relationship between the bias voltage, the pumping current, and the main supply voltage is provided. The experimental results are supported by a numerical simulation of the DSRD in the circuit using the Synopsys technological computer-aided design incorporated with a SPICE solver.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2012