P. McMullin, L. Lowry
Oct 1, 1979
IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices
Laser-activated semiconductor switch (LASS) devices of the thyristor type exhibit three regimes of operation. At low optical drive, optical triggering is obtained with delay time before conduction and relatively low current rise rates. At intermediate drive levels, fast switching is obtained with no appreciable delay time and fast current rise rates (greater than 109A/s) but with substantial power lost in the switch element. At higher optical drives, saturated switching is observed with the rise rate and power loss relatively independent of the optical drive level. LASS thyristors of 1- and 4-kV operating voltage ratings have been characterized in the lossy fast switching regime. For pulses of 100-ns duration, the devices act as resistive elements. The magnitude of the resistance varies inversely with the optical drive, and can be understood as conductivity modulation of the conduction path by the photogenerated carriers. Such characterization allows switch system design tradeoff between the required optical drive level and the tolerable power loss in the switch elements.