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Varactor Diode

The varactor diode symbol is shown below with a diagram representation.

5a.jpg      5b.jpg

     When a reverse voltage is applid to a PN junction , the holes in the p-region are attracted to the anode terminal and electrons in the n-region are attracted to the cathode terminal creating a region where there is little current.This region ,the depletion region, is essentially devoid of carriers and behaves as the dielectric of a capacitor.

     The depletion region increases as reverse voltage across it increases; and since capacitance varies inversely as dielectic thickness, the junction capacitance will decrease as the voltage across the PN junction increases. So by varying the reverse voltage across a PN junction the junction capacitance can be varied .This is shown in the typical varactor voltage-capacitance curve below.


     Notice the nonlinear increase in capacitance as the reverse voltage is decreased. This nonlinearity allows the varactor to be used also as a harmonic generator.

Major varactor considerations are:
(a) Capacitance value
(b) Voltage
(c) Variation in capacitance with voltage.
(d) Maximum working voltage
(e) Leakage current