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Junction Field Effect Transistors. Source Follower Amplifier

Junction Field Effect Transistors. Source Follower Amplifier
As mentioned in Lecture 16, there are two major families of transistors. We’ve worked with BJTs in the past few lectures. The second transistor type we will consider is the field effect transistor (FET). In the NorCal 40A, we use discrete junction field effect transistors (JFETs). (Recall that in ICs, metal oxide semiconductor FETs are usually used.) Four important points concerning the JFET are:
1. Probably the simplest transistor,
2. Very large input impedance (but MOSFETs even larger),
3. Virtually obsolete compared to the MOSFET,
4. Now used mainly in discrete circuit design – switches, amplifiers, etc.
In the NorCal 40A, JFETs are used in the:
1. Buffer Amplifier (as a buffer amplifier–duh!),
2. Variable Frequency Oscillator, VFO (as the gain element in the oscillator),
3. Automatic Gain Control, AGC (as a voltage controlled variable resistance).
Physical Behavior of Junction Field Effect Transistors
As with BJTs, there are n and p type JFETs. We use only n-type in the Norcal 40A (the J309).

itself often connected to the p-type body. By making Vgs more negative, the gate pn junction develops a larger depletion region. This has the effect of narrowing the channel and, consequently, decreasing Id (the drain current). Eventually, when Vgs =V c(<0) the channel becomes closed (or “pinched off”). Vc is called the cutoff voltage and is less than zero. (For the J309, Vc ? ?2.5V.)
Mathematically, the drain current is expressed as

Idss is the drain to source current with the gated shorted to the source. This characteristic curve is shown in

The slope of this drain current versus Vgs is called the transconductance gm of the JFET:

The significance of gm to a JFET is analogous to ? for a BJT. Substituting (9.74) into (9.75) and performing the differentiation Gives

This curve is simply a straight line, as shown in

Interestingly, we see that gm actually changes as Vgs changes. The ? for BJTs did not have such dependence. Later in Section 11.4 (and Probs. 26 and 27), we will harness this behavior of JFETs to make a nice oscillator!
Small Signal Model of the JFET
The low frequency, small signal model for an n-type JFET is shown in

The gate is open circuited, which models the extremely large input impedance of properly biased JFETs (remember that the input can be a reversed-biased pn junction). This input impedance is easily greater than 1 M?.In the model above, r0 is the output resistance of the JFET. It’s often neglected in paper analysis of these circuits. (However, in Prob. 27, rd = r0 = 5 k? is used in second-order calculations.)
Source Follower FET Amplifier
A JFET source follower amplifier is very similar to the BJT emitter follower

The FET source follower (1) has a very large input impedance, (2) is very simple to bias, and (3) has Gv<1 . The source follower is used in the Buffer Amplifier (Q5) in the NorCal 40A. The Buffer Amplifier isolates the Transmit Mixer from the Driver Amplifier. This isolation keeps changes in the input impedance to the Driver Amplifier from affecting the Transmit Mixer.
Surprisingly, R alone is all that’s needed to set the bias of the source follower, provided the gate is dc grounded (but, of course, not ac grounded!).
As an example of a dc grounded gate, consider the Buffer Amplifier in the NorCal 40A. Notice that R10 and L6 provide a dc path to ground so there is no dc current. Also, notice that ac signals at the gate are not grounded. The dc source voltage in the above circuit is
Vs = IbR
where Ib is the drain to source bias current. Then
Vgs =Vg ?Vs =0 ? Ib R = ?Ib R
This is simply an equation for a straight line. This straight line is the load line and we can use it together with the JFET characteristic equation (9.74) to determine the dc bias point for
Vgs and Ids.
Referring to

The intersection of the load line with the JFET characteristic curve gives a graphical solution for the dc bias point of the source follower amplifier: Vgs = Vb and Id = Ib. Once the source follower has been properly biased, the ac output impedance and the voltage gain can be easily determined. Using the small-signal equivalent circuit model for the source follower

From this circuit we see that
v = gm vgs R
vgs = vg ? vs = vi – v
Substituting (9.79) into (9.78) we find

Now, solving for the ratio of output to input voltage, we find


where Gv is the voltage gain. The JFET transconductance is usually quite small. But if we choose R such that gm R>> (i.e., R>> gm?1 ), then
Gv <<1
which is typical for a source-follower JFET amplifier

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