Difference Between Avalanche Breakdown and Zener Breakdown

The electrical breakdown happens because of Zener or Avalanche.

The PN-junction can be operated in forward biased conditions and reverse biased conditions. In the reverse biased condition, the flow of current happens because of the minority charges.

The Avalanche Breakdown and Zener Breakdown happen in reverse-biased conditions.

Avalanche Breakdown vs Zener Breakdown

The main difference between avalanche breakdown and Zener breakdown is that in the avalanche breakdown, the voltage is greater than 8, and the voltage may vary after the effect, the electric field is also weak, whereas in the Zener breakdown, the voltage lies between 5 to 8, and the voltage is not disrupted.

Avalanche Breakdown vs Zener Breakdown

The Avalanche breakdown occurs in the PN junction. They happen in reverse-biased conditions. The electric field is also weak. It does not have a sharp graph curve. The voltage is greater than 8 volts.

This breakdown Operates in reverse biased condition. In this breakdown, the tunneling effect does not happen. The electricity connection is destroyed during this breakdown.

The Zener breakdown happens in the Zener diode. They happen in reverse-biased conditions. The electric field is strong. It has a sharp graph curve. The voltage lies between 5 to 8.

This breakdown Operates in reverse biased condition. In this breakdown, the tunneling effect happens. The electricity connection is not destroyed during this breakdown.

Comparison Table Between Avalanche Breakdown and Zener Breakdown

Parameters of ComparisonAvalanche BreakdownZener Breakdown
DefinitionThis breakdown occurs in the P-n junction.This breakdown happens in the Zener diode.
Operates inThis breakdown Operates in reverse biased condition.This breakdown Operates in reverse biased condition.
VoltageThis breakdown has a higher voltage. This breakdown has more than 8.  This breakdown has a lower voltage. This breakdown has volts between 5 to 8.
RegionThe region is thick.The region is thin.
Electricity connectionThe electricity connection is destroyed while this breakdown.The electricity connection is not destroyed while this breakdown.
Electric FieldThe field is weak for this breakdown.The field is strong for this breakdown.
CurveThe avalanche breakdown does not have a sharp graph curve.  The Zener breakdown has a sharp graph curve.  
Temperature Coefficient The temperature coefficient of the avalanche breakdown is positive.The temperature coefficient for the Zener breakdown is negative.
DopedThe diodes in this breakdown are
not highly doped.
The diodes in the Zener breakdown are highly doped.

What is Avalanche Breakdown?

Avalanche breakdown happens in a P-n junction diode. This breakdown happens when a high voltage is applied to the diode. This breakdown Operates in reverse biased condition.

For this breakdown, the electric field is weak.

The electricity field is calculated using the Ea =Va/d formula, where Va is reverse voltage and d is the width of the layer. The diodes in this breakdown are not highly doped.

When the voltage that is applied reaches the region of breakdown, the charge carriers collide with the present atoms, generating the collision of the two free electrons.

These two electrons then collide with others which then results in two more free electrons. This process then continues, which results in a drastic increase in the charge carriers.

This makes a jump to the reverse saturation current. This effect is called the Avalanche breakdown.

This breakdown effect results in impact ionization. This breakdown Operates in reverse biased condition. The electricity connection is destroyed during this breakdown.

The temperature coefficient of the avalanche breakdown is positive.

This effect or breakdown happens with a high reverse voltage in an electric field. The electricity connection is destroyed during this breakdown. This breakdown has more than 8.

What is Zener Breakdown?      

The Zener breakdown happens in an electric field with the PN junction diode. This breakdown Operates in reverse biased condition. This then results in the free electrons in the electric field.

For this breakdown, the electric field is strong.

Zener diode is a type of PN junction diode which operates in reverse biased conditions. The diodes in the Zener breakdown are highly doped.

The Zener diode has a higher number of impure atoms in comparison with the PN junction. Due to this, the Zener diode has a large number of free atoms. The free electrons are the charge carriers.

Due to this, many free electrons are created, which results in the reverse saturation current. This breakdown has volts between 5 to 8. The temperature coefficient for the Zener breakdown is negative.

This breakdown is called the Zener effect breakdown. In this, the field becomes strong, restricting the charge carriers from accelerating or moving from one place to another.

The electricity connection is not destroyed during this breakdown.

Main Differences Between Avalanche Breakdown and Zener Breakdown

  1. The Zener breakdown happens at a lower voltage than the avalanche breakdown.
  2. The Zener breakdown volts lie between 5 to 8, while the avalanche breakdown has higher than 8 volts.
  3. The temperature coefficient of the avalanche breakdown is positive, whereas, for the Zener breakdown, the temperature coefficient is negative.
  4. The diodes in the Zener breakdown are highly doped, whereas the diodes in the avalanche breakdown are lightly doped.
  5. The avalanche breakdown doesn’t have a sharp graph curve, whereas the Zener breakdown has a sharp graph curve.
  6. The voltage is not affected for the Zener breakdown, whereas the voltage is affected and may vary for the avalanche breakdown.

Conclusion

The electrical breakdown happens because of Zener or Avalanche. The Avalanche Breakdown and Zener Breakdown are both different from each other.

There are two types of conditions; the forward biased condition and the reverse-biased condition.

The forward condition happens when the flow of the current of the free charge carriers is seen and is more than the barrier potential.

The Avalanche Breakdown and Zener Breakdown happen in reverse-biased conditions. The Avalanche Breakdown occurs in the P-n junction while the Zener breakdown happens in the Zener diode.

They both breakdowns also have different voltage powers at which they occur or happen.

References

  1. https://journals.aps.org/pr/abstract/10.1103/PhysRev.99.1234
  2. https://journals.aps.org/pr/abstract/10.1103/PhysRev.102.369
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