Can you please help me with this exercise?

In each circuit, calculate the current flowing through the 10kΩ resistor and calculate the voltage drop across the germanium diode. Please assume that a germanium diode has a forward-biased junction potential of 0.3V.

schematic diagram

Circuit (a)

Supply Voltage = 5V, R= 10kΩ, Junction potential = 0.3V, I =? VDrop=?

VD = (5V – 0.3V) = 4.7V
I = VD/R = 4.7V / 10kΩ = 0.47mA

Circuit (b)

Supply Voltage = 10V, R= 10kΩ, Junction potential = 0.3V, I =? VDrop =?

VD = (10V – 0.3V) = 9.7V
I = VD/R = 9.7V / 10kΩ = 0.97mA

Can you please review my solution?

I am not sure about the voltage drop, which in my calculation is indicated as VD. Also the second circuit, which is reverse biased, I'm not sure about the calculation I made.

Thanks in advance.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Look more closely at the two drawings. And remember what the basic function of a diode is. \$\endgroup\$ – Hearth Jan 29 at 19:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ I had a science teacher back in grade school with the last name Dibenedetto. But back to your question. It's also important to note that you should consider drawing an equivalent circuit of a diode as well. \$\endgroup\$ – KingDuken Jan 29 at 19:23

You claim your second diode is reverse-biased. You can only make this assertion if it doesn't conduct current, and not because its terminals are switched.

Note that for forward-biased diodes, the forward-biased junction potential is the voltage drop from P to N, meaning that the voltage drop from N to P is the negative of this. If you look at your calculations, then you will see that you used the same polarity for both!


Please note that when you're assuming that the diode is forward-biased, the resultant current you calculate through the diode (from P to N) should be positive; if its negative, then your initial assumption that the diode is forward-biased is incorrect, and therefore it is reverse-biased (and hence doesn't conduct current). It was mentioned in the comments that OP may not know about this, so I provided clarification.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This answer implies that reverse-biased diodes generate power, which is false. \$\endgroup\$ – Hearth Jan 30 at 0:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't understand. Where have I said that it generates power? If the current through the diode is negative, then the initial assumption that it's forward-biased is incorrect. \$\endgroup\$ – Metric Jan 30 at 0:22
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You didn't say it, but you implied it, probably unintentionally, by saying that the asker should use the negative of the given potential drop without explaining why that's unphysical (since the asker seems unfamiliar with the basics of electronics, this may give them the wrong idea). \$\endgroup\$ – Hearth Jan 30 at 0:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Edited for further clarification. \$\endgroup\$ – Metric Jan 30 at 0:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.