<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
The current-voltage sweep is one of the fundamental experiments used to characterize the behavior of a diode. The Diode IV Sweep lab is designed as a laboratory or at-home experiment. Low cost National Instruments Data Acquisition products are used to excite and acquire data from the Diode-Resistor network.

Diode iv sweep using national instruments low cost data acquisition


The diode is a basic circuit element that possesses nonlinear IV characteristics. In contrast to a simpleresistor, doubling diode current does not necessarily double the voltage across the diode. In order to visualize this nonlinearrelationship, it is common to plot diode current vs. voltage on a 2D graph. This graph can also be used at a later point to perform“load line” calculations on circuits with diodes.

In this exercise, the experimenter will construct a simple circuit to measure the IV characteristic of adiode. The Low Cost USB DAQ will be used as a programmable voltage source as well as an analog measurement device. The experimentaldata collected can be compared to expected theoretical data to draw conclusions regarding measurement noise, model shortcomings, anddata acquisition.

Pre-lab assignment

  • Research the exponential diode model using textbooks, the internet, or any other source. This model is more commonly referredto as the “ideal diode model”. What other diode models can you find?
  • What formula(s) can you find relating diode current and voltage? Note that the exponential, or “ideal diode model” shouldhave an exponential term.
  • Search Google for “Phillips 1N914” and open up the pdf datasheet. Find the graph of diode forward current vs voltage andnote your observations. Does the forward IV curve look exponential? How does the reverse IV curve look?
  • Use a simulation package such as Multisim to obtain the IV characteristic of a simulated diode. Do this by sweeping either the diode current or voltage, andmeasuring the other quantity.
  • Become familiar with the National Instruments USB 6008 and 6009 data acquisition devices. These datasheets are available on www.ni.com .


One commonly used method of modeling a diode is the “ideal diode model”. Using this model, diode voltage andcurrent are related according to the following formula:

Ideal Diode Model

Since Is is typically very small (1E-12), this equation is commonly simplified to:

Simplfied Diode Model Equation

Note that in the formula, Is stands for the saturation current which is around 1E-12 A, and Vt is a temperaturedependent constant equal to 0.0259 V at 300 degrees K. Id and Vd represent diode current and voltage respectively.

Therefore, a theoretical diode IV curve can be plotted using LabVIEW:

IV Curve plotted using LabVIEW

Hardware and software required

  • 10 Ohm resistor
  • Diode
  • National Instruments Low Cost USB DAQ
  • LabVIEW 8.20 software (LabVIEW 7.1 or 8.0 will work as well)

Labratory procedure

1) Construct the following circuit and connect to the USB 6008/6009. By outputting a certain voltage at AO 0 and measuring thevoltage at AI 3+, the experimenter can obtain a data point containing diode voltage and current. The diode voltage is simplythe voltage at node AI 3+, and the diode current is identical to the resistor current (Ohm’s Law).

Circuit for Measuring Diode IV Curve

2) Use a DMM to measure the actual resistance used for R1 in the circuit above (take R1 out of the circuit for measurement). This will help to obtain a moreaccurate current reading.

3) Using the DAQ Assistant Express VI, construct the following LabVIEW block diagram. Note that the userwill be able to select the number of IV data points to collect, as well as the ending sweep voltage for AO 0. Select this voltage lowenough to ensure that resistor R1 does not exceed its power specification.

LabVIEW Block Diagram Used to Measure Diode IV Curve

4) Run the VI several times using different values for the number of data points and sweep ending voltage.Record your observations and print out three diode IV curves with different numbers of data points.

Post-lab questions

  • Did the measured diode characteristic curve closely resemble what you expected? How closely did this curve match the datasheet,simulation, and theoretical data you researched earlier?
  • The measured IV curve may have contained some noise. Elaborate on some possible sources of this noise (think about yoursurroundings). Can you think of a way to eliminate some of the undesired noise from the signal? Would you do this in hardware orsoftware?
  • What real-world situations would require a designer to measure the diode characteristic curve?
  • What quantities could you measure for a bipolar junction transistor (BJT) using the low cost USB acquisition device? Explain how you would make your measurements.

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Electronics experiments using usb data acquisition. OpenStax CNX. Dec 15, 2006 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10393/1.1
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Electronics experiments using usb data acquisition' conversation and receive update notifications?