Two power MOSFETs in the surface-mount package D2PAK. Operating as switches, each of these components can sustain a blocking voltage of 120 volts in the OFF state, and can conduct a continuous current of 30 amperes in the ON state, dissipating up to about 100 watts and controlling a load of over 2000 watts. A matchstick is pictured for scale.
A cross section through an nMOSFET when the gate voltage VGS is below the threshold for making a conductive channel; there is little or no conduction between the terminals source and drain; the switch is off. When the gate is more positive, it attracts electrons, inducing an n-type conductive channel in the substrate below the oxide, which allows electrons to flow between the n-doped terminals; the switch is on.
Simulation result for formation of inversion channel (electron density) and attainment of threshold voltage (IV) in a nanowire MOSFET. Note that the threshold voltage for this device lies around 0.45V.
The metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET, MOS-FET, or MOS FET) is a device used for amplifying or switching electronic signals. The basic principle of the device was first proposed by Julius Edgar Lilienfeld in 1925. In MOSFETs, a voltage on the oxide-insulated gate electrode can induce a conducting channel between the two other contacts called source and drain. The channel can be of n-type or p-type (see article on semiconductor devices), and is accordingly called an NMOSFET or a PMOSFET (also commonly nMOS, pMOS). It is by far the most common transistor in both digital and analog circuits, though the bipolar junction transistor was at one time much more common.
The 'metal' in the name is now often a misnomer because the previously metal gate material is now often a layer of polysilicon (polycrystalline silicon). Aluminium had been the gate material until the mid 1970s, when polysilicon became dominant, due to its capability to form self-aligned gates. Metallic gates are regaining popularity, since it is difficult to increase the speed of operation of transistors without metal gates.
IGFET is a related term meaning insulated-gate field-effect transistor, and is almost synonymous with MOSFET, though it can refer to FETs with a gate insulator that is not oxide. Another synonym is MISFET for metal–insulator–semiconductor FET.
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